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Princess Anne makes history by taking part in Queen Elizabeth's coffin vigil

Princess Anne was the first woman to ever participate in what is known as the Vigil of the Princes.
/ Source: TODAY

Princess Anne made history Sept. 12 by participating in a symbolic watch over her mother's coffin as it laid in state at St. Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland. It was the first time a woman has participated in the somber royal tradition, NBC royal expert and commentator Daisy McAndrew said.

The children of Queen Elizabeth II, who died on Sept. 8, watched over their mother as well-wishers came to pay their respects in the ancient cathedral.

Britain's King Charles III, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, arrive to attend a vigil at St Giles' Cathedral, in Edinburgh, Scotland, on Sept. 12, 2022, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.JANE BARLOW / POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Called the Vigil of the Princes, King Charles III, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward joined the Royal Company of Archers for about 10 minutes to symbolically guard the coffin.

This is only the third time the Vigil of the Princes has happened. The first time was following the death of the queen's grandfather, King George V in 1936. The second was during the Queen Mother's funeral procession in 2002.

Queen Elizabeth II's children participate in the somber tradition known as the Vigil of the Princes.JANE BARLOW / POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Photos from Monday night show King Charles in a kilt standing near the head of the coffin. Princess Anne and Prince Edward wore their military uniforms, while Prince Andrew dressed in a suit.

Sky News reported that Queen Consort Camilla and Sophie, Countess of Wessex watched the vigil from the side. The outlet said the late queen's coffin was draped with the Royal Standard of Scotland and a wreath of flowers of white spray roses, white freesias, white button chrysanthemums and dried white heather from Balmoral.

Working members of the royal family are expected to wear their military uniforms at several additional upcoming events in honor of the late queen's life: the procession to Westminster Hall and service of prayer and reflection on Wednesday and the subsequent vigil; the state funeral service at Westminster Abbey on Sept. 19; and the committal service at St George’s Chapel Windsor after the funeral.

Prince Andrew is a non-working member of the royal family, so he is likely to not wear his military uniform until the final vigil in Westminster Hall, NBC News has learned. The Duke of York was stripped of his military titles before he settled a civil sexual abuse case in the United States in February.

In a statement on Friday, King Charles said the royal mourning period will last seven days after the death of the queen, and the royal residences will be closed until after her funeral.

Charles, who was formally sworn in as king during the nation's first televised ascension ceremony on Sept. 10, will likely hold an official coronation celebration in the coming year.