Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby break silence on backlash: ‘We would never jump a queue’
This Morning presenters Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby have addressed allegations they jumped the queue to see Queen Elizabeth II lying-in-state.
The presenters were hit with criticism on Friday (16 September) after they were spotted entering Westminster Hall via a fast-track route for the lying-in-state, during which members of the public filed past the Queen’s coffin to pay their respects.
The pair were accused of skipping the queue while hundreds of thousands of members of the public – including celebrities such as retired footballer David Beckham – waited for more than 12 hours at times.
ITV released a statement that Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby were there in a professional capacity, which died little to quell backlash.
On Tuesday’s This Morning, the presenters said they “totally understand” the backlash they received.
Willoughby read a statement during the programme, explaining: “Like hundreds of accredited broadcasters and journalists, we were given official permission to access the hall.
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“It was strictly for the purpose of reporting on the event for millions of people in the UK who haven’t been able to visit Westminster in person.
“The rules were that we would be quickly escorted around the edges to a platform at the back. In contrast, those paying their respects walked along a carpeted area beside the coffin and were given time to pause.
“None of the broadcasters or journalists there took anyone’s place in the queue, and no one filed past the Queen.
“We respected those rules, however, we realise that it may have looked like something else, and therefore totally understand the reaction. Please know we would never jump a queue.”
Schofield then described attending Westminster Hall to see the Queen lying-in-state as one of the “most profound moments” of his life.
The Queen’s state funeral took place at Westminster Abbey on Monday (19 September).
It was followed by a procession to Wellington Arch, a parade as the state hearse travelled to Windsor, a procession to St George’s Chapel, a committal service, and finally a private burial in which the Queen was laid to rest alongside her husband, Prince Philip.
Estimates ahead of the funeral suggested it could be watched by as many as four billion people around the world, which would break the record for the “most watched broadcast of all time”.
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