Royal Guard Faints While Protecting Queen Elizabeth II’s Coffin

Queen Elizabeth II’s death shook the world — and her own security is not immune. A royal guard fainted while protecting the late monarch’s coffin as it lies in state at Westminster Hall on Wednesday, September 14.

The unexpected incident happened during a livestream of this somber event, shocking not only the crowd, but viewers around the globe.

As security stood around the elaborately decorated casket with its attendants, one guard was seen swaying slightly as he tried to grasp his ceremonial staff. As his knees buckled, he fell to the ground. Several officials rushed to his rescue and the broadcast was cut.

According to the Huffington Post UK, soldiers guard the queen’s coffin 24 hours per day while she is lying in state. The outlet noted that guards are required to stand in all four corners of the “catafalque,” which is the red-carpeted platform on which Her Majesty’s coffin lies. Guards may be stationary for up to six hours a day.

Palace Guard Faints While Standing in Front of Queen Elizabeth II's Coffin
Geoff Pugh/Shutterstock

Elizabeth’s casket bears multiple pieces of royal regalia, including the bejeweled Sovereign’s Orb and the Sovereign’s Sceptre With Cross. Both decorated icons were used not just at the queen’s 1953 coronation, but in every British monarch’s coronation since 1661. The casket contains the state crown that was worn by the late sovereign on the day of her coronation.

The queen’s coffin arrived at London’s Westminster Hall on Wednesday, with multiple members of her family — including King Charles III, Prince WilliamAnd Prince Harry — following close behind in the solemn procession. Her casket, which is 900 years old, will be kept at the building until her funeral on Monday September 19. The public can pay their respects 24 hours a days to the monarch until Monday morning.

Elizabeth’s final resting place will be at St. George’s Chapel inside Windsor Castle, where her coffin will be placed beside the casket of her late husband, Prince Philip, who died in April 2021 at age 99. The chapel also houses the coffins her late parents, King George VI, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, and the ashes of Princess Margaret.

The queen ruled over the U.K., its Commonwealth and territories for a record 70 years before she died on September 8. Elizabeth, who was 96 at the time of her passing, “died peacefully at [her] Balmoral [estate in Scotland] this afternoon,” Buckingham Palace shared in a statement at the time.