Childhood friends-turned-soldiers from Newtownards perform guard for Queen Lying in State

They've known each other since boyhood.

Now, after distinguished military careers, these two Newtownards men are serving their Queen for a final time. Capt John Donaldson is a Yeoman of the King's Bodyguard - the oldest unit of Royal bodyguards, founded in 1485 by King Henry VII.

Lt Col Simon Nichols serves with the Irish Guards - one of the Foot Guards regiments of the British Army.

The 24 hours vigil at Westminister Hall requires frequent change-overs.

On Saturday, it is understood the Queen's grandchildren will stand vigil by her coffin.

Prince William, the Prince of Wales, is expected to stand at the head of the coffin, with Prince Harry, the Duke of Sussex, at its foot.

It comes as the waiting time in the queue to observe the late monarch has grown to an estimated 24 hours, with vast numbers of people in the line stretching back to Southwark Park.

The childhood friends from Newtownards are aware of the weight of the responsibilities on their shoulders.

Lt Col Nichols will be on guard for the final hours of her late majesty's Lying in State.

While Capt Donaldson will have a role in Monday's state funeral.

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