In further evidence that the UK has had a very unusual media week, two high-profile British TV presenters have been forced to defend themselves, after receiving a huge backlash from other mourners and commentators on social media for appearing to jump the queue at Queen Elizabeth II’s lying in state.
The queue has become historically long in the last week, with thousands waiting up to 24 hours to file past the Queen’s coffin in Westminster Hall and pay their respects to the late monarch.
Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, who co-present ITV’s daytime show This Morning and are very familiar faces to fans, visited Westminster Hall on Friday – at a time when the queue to get in was temporarily paused, due to over-capacity.
Critics were swift to point out that the pair had allegedly queue-jumped, which in recent days has become a heinous action, with the queue for the Queen becoming a totem for all that is good and fair in the UK, with stories of strangers making friends during the long wait, camaraderie, fairness and consideration for others.
Amidst the backlash, This Morning has released a statement defending the pair, explaining they were there on work purposes:
“Hello everyone, we would like to clarify something.
“We asked Phillip and Holly to be part of a film for this Tuesday’s programme.
“They did not jump the queue, have VIP access or file past the Queen lying in state – but instead were there in a professional capacity as part of the world’s media to report on the event.”
An ITV spokesperson further told MailOnline: “This Morning had press accreditation and like other media, Phillip and Holly were escorted to work from the press gallery by government staff.
“They did not file past The Queen’s coffin. They were there alongside a host of other broadcasters and national press outlets for an item that will be broadcast on Tuesday’s show. Any allegations of improper behaviour are categorically untrue.”
However, critics have swiftly pointed out that their next TV appearance will be on Tuesday, by when there will be no lying-in-state news to report – and nor are they journalists usually sent out to report.
Other famous figures, including David Beckham, Tilda Swinton and journalist Peter Hitchens (brother of Christopher) all queued up for hours with other mourners to make their entry into the Hall.