This Morning presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield have been at the centre of a controversy this week after it was alleged that they skipped the queue to see the Queen’s coffin lying in state at Westminster Abbey.
The queue stretched for 10 miles along the bank of the Thames and roughly a quarter of a million people are believed to have joined the queue over the five day lying in state period.
Some mourners waited for up to 24 hours to see the Queen’s coffin, and famous faces were also spotted in the queue.
Former footballer David Beckham, singer James Blunt, and presenter Susanna Reid were among those who waited in line for hours.
But when fans spotted This Morning presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield in Westminster Abbey without having queued to get in, a minor uproar began.
Why were Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield in Westminster Abbey?
The presenters appeared inside Westminster Hall to visit the Queen’s coffin last week.
They had been given access to a separate line for the media and therefore did not need to join the miles-long queue - leading some members of the public to accuse the pair of skipping the queue.
The pair attended the event to film a package that was due to air today (20 September) following the Queen’s funeral.
Due to the backlash following the queue jumping allegations, ITV bosses considered scrapping the feature, but decided to play it and include an explanation of why Holly and Phillip were there.
What has ITV said about the queue jumping controversy?
ITV denied the allegation that the presenters queue jumped in a released statement which read: “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.”
In a video package which showed footage of the lying in state event, Holly Willoughby said in a voiceover: “Like hundreds of accredited broadcasters and journalists, we were given official permission to access the hall.
“The rules were that we would be quickly escorted around the edges to a platform at the back. In contrast, those paying respects walked along a carpeted area beside the coffin and were given time to pause.
“None of the broadcasters and journalists there took anyone’s place in the queue and no one filed past the Queen.”
What have other presenters said?
Huw Edwards, who broke the news of the Queen’s death on the BBC and presented much of the subsequent coverage said during a broadcast this week: “There have been quite a few familiar faces in the queue for that lying in state at Westminster Hall.
“We did of course see a certain David Beckham there on Friday, he was widely praised for having queued hours and hours, not jumping the queue because he’s a superstar VIP. No, he was in the queue for many hours and good for him."
Viewers saw this as a not so subtle dig at Holly and Phillip who did not spend any time in the queue.
Susanna Reid, who joined the 81-year-old mum, Sue, and her friend, said of her experience: "When I was in the queue, young children, patiently and uncomplainingly stood for hours. I was so proud of my mum at 81 queuing with me."
She also seemed to defend the This Morning Presenters on Good Morning Britain today during an interview with Mel B.
Mel said “No queue jumping for you” to which Susanna replied: "Well, some people had to work, of course. I was there with my mum who wanted to be there and her friend and it was lovely."
Have Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield caused controversy before?
It’s been a bad month for Holly and Phillip’s public image, as they also caused controversy in early September with a new divisive feature on This Morning.
The pair fronted a wheel of fortune cost of living feature in which callers could either win £1,000 or have the cost of their energy bills covered for four months over this coming winter.
Some viewers found the idea and the glitter covered spin to win wheel to be in poor taste and almost dystopian.
The following day, as the pair presented another spin to win segment, with energy bills, £1,000, and a new £3,000 prize on the wheel, Phillip said: “I wonder how much of that they can complain about online” to which Holly laughed.