A member of the ceremonial royal guard standing guard by the casket of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II collapsed early Thursday.
The late queen, whose 70-year-reign made her the only monarch most of Britain ever knew, has been lying in state in Westminster Hall since Wednesday. The hall will be open 24 hours a day until the queen’s funeral Monday.
The guard was positioned at the foot of the queen’s casket, holding a ceremonial staff, when he fell to the floor, causing gasps from the mourners, according to ITV.
As several people rushed to help him, the live footage of the queen lying in state was cut for several minutes.
NOW – Royal guard at the Queen’s coffin has collapsed.pic.twitter.com/39qduRuX0u
— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) September 14, 2022
According to the U.K.’s Daily Mail, a hint of what was to come was seen when the guard who collapsed had earlier stepped off the platform upon which the casket was placed before returning to his position.
A stretcher was brought for him after his fall, but he declined to be removed and returned to his post. However, the guard was unable to remain and was escorted away after the second incident.
The royal guards standing by the queen’s casket work 6-hour shifts, according to Newsweek, and are drawn from the Gentlemen at Arms, the Royal Company of Archers and the Yeomen of the Guard. The guard who fainted was a member of the Royal Company of Archers.
Ceremonial occasions in which soldiers must stand still for hours on end have resulted in fainting episodes before. ITV noted that five soldiers fainted at the National Thanksgiving Service earlier this year during Platinum Jubilee.
As of 8 a.m, Thursday British time, the line to file past the queen’s casket was around 2.6 miles long, according to ITV. Others estimated it was even longer.
Part of the line to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II. This is near the London Eye, the coffin is at Westminster Hall. The line is currently over 4 miles long. @WPLGLocal10 pic.twitter.com/EcWiyoLzBD
— Nicole Perez (@NicolePerezWPLG) September 15, 2022
Mourners have been given wristbands to indicate their place in line, so that if they need to use a bathroom or eat, they can do so and return to their position.
Roy Lee and his family waited 11 hours to walk past the queen’s casket, according to the BBC.
Lee said he was “saying a little thank you.”
“I’m not sure if that was the right thing but we did it in gratitude,” he said.
Teresa Lee, his wife, said that “entering the hall was overwhelming.”
“But being in there gave me such a feeling of pride. That she was the Queen of our country and she served us so amazingly. I felt proud to be British,” she said.
She said that while inside the hall, she silently told the late queen, “You’ve done your job.”
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.