Following Queen Elizabeth’s death, her coffin was moved to Westminster Hall. It lay there in the days before the funeral and the public had the opportunity to visit the coffin and say a final goodbye. According to the British newspaper The Telegraph, over a quarter of a million people visited Westminster Hall, and the queue to catch a glimpse of the coffin could take up to 15 hours.
There was therefore a violent fury when “This Morning” profiles Holly Willoughby (41) and Philip Schofield (60) arrived at Westminster Hall and apparently snuck ahead of the queue. They were allowed to enter an entrance, without queuing, which was closed to the public. Those who stood waiting for their turn had been there for a full 13 hours.
Willoughby and Schofield caused a stir when they passed the others in the queue and several people are said to have started shouting for them. A witness reports that Schofield just smiled and looked around.
– That made a lot of people angry. People said “how can they do this?”. There was real hatred towards them, it was not right, said a witness according to the Daily Mail.
Will get them fired
In the time since the wake, Willoughby and Schofield have garnered massive criticism. Several Britons are said to have become so angry that they started a petition to have the TV duo fired from the program “This Morning”, writes The Irish Sun. The original goal was to get 15,000 signatures.
As early as Tuesday, they will have reached their goal, and at the time of writing have collected more than 50,000 signatures. A new goal has been set to get 75,000 people to support the petition.
According to The Sun, Willoughby will refuse to leave his job, this has been confirmed by an ITV source.
Criticism of the two television profiles came almost immediately after they visited Westminster Hall. It didn’t take long before Willoughby released an audio clip where she explained the incident, writes Wales Online.
– Like hundreds of other accredited broadcasters and journalists, we received official permission to enter Westminster Hall. It was solely to report on the vigil for the millions of people in Britain who have not been able to visit Westminster themselves, she said, continuing:
– The rules were that we were immediately escorted along the edge towards a platform at the back of the room, in contrast to those who paid their respects (to the late queen, editor’s note) who walked on a carpeted area next to the coffin and were given time to take a break. None of the broadcasters or journalists there took anyone’s place in the queue and no one walked past the Queen.
She also explained that they followed the rules but understand that it may have looked like something else, and thus understand the people’s reaction.
– Please, you must know that we had never snuck in the queue, concluded Willoughby.