Holly and Phil break silence over skipping queue to Queen: We were given official permission

This Morning hosts Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield have broken their silence over the criticism they've faced since visiting the Queen's Lying-in-State at Westminster Hall.

Phil, 60, and Holly, 41, have faced backlash after they were spotted walking past queuing mourners and paying their respects in a different line to the public, even leading to a petition to have the two presenters axed.

ITV has since been forced to release a statement clarifying they were there in a professional capacity with "press accreditation", insisting: "They did not file past The Queen's coffin", adding: "Any allegations of improper behaviour are categorically untrue."

Holly and Phillip appeared on Tuesday's This Morning after the show took a break so ITV could cover the Queen's funeral on 19 September.

They started the episode by addressing the backlash in a special segment covering the Queen's funeral and Lying-in-State, Holly said in a VT: "Like hundreds of accredited broadcasters and journalists, we were given official permission to access the hall.

"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 respect walked along a carpeted area besides 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. We of course respected those rules.

"However, we realise that it may have looked like something else… and therefore totally understand the reaction. Please know, that we would never jump a queue!"

It comes after ITV said in a statement: "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."

The This Morning duo had been criticised for seemingly using their "celebrity status" to jump the queue when others including Susanna Reid and also David Beckham queued with the rest of the public.

Their fellow ITV star Susanna, who fronts Good Morning Britain, revealed that she waited in line with her mother, 81, for over seven hours before they reached the Queen's coffin to pay their respects.

Susana, 51, described the moment as "majestic and peaceful" and she offered some helpful tips for those who were planning to queue to pay their own respects to the late Monarch.

Taking to Twitter, Susana wrote: "Evening – along with my lovely mum and her very good friend, I have just experienced a moment in history – witnessing the Queen lying in state in Westminster Hall. At once majestic and peaceful."


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