The pair, who visited Westminster Hall as part of the world’s media to report on the event last week, told viewers of the ITV daytime show on Tuesday that they “would never jump a queue” as they explained the rules in place for journalists and broadcasters.
In a montage covering the events of the days since the Queen’s death, Holly insisted that she and Phillip had “respected” the rules in place but “realise that it may have looked like something else” and therefore “totally understand the reaction”.
Speaking in a pre-recorded voice-over, she explained: “Like hundreds of accredited broadcasters and journalists, we were given official permission to access the hall. It was for 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 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.”
Holly continued: “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.”
The presenters were also seen interviewing members of the public who had queued to pay their respects to the Queen whilst she was lying in state, as well as sharing their own reactions to visiting Westminster Hall.
Phillip said: “That’s probably got to be one of the, if not the most profound moments of my life, I think.”
“I totally, I couldn’t agree more,” Holly said. “Being there to see something like that was incredible and I think obviously the Queen is the first thing you see when you walk in there, and the guards around her. But what strikes you more than anything else is the mourners and this ever, ever moving line, which has been the contrast to the stillness.
“There was no-one there going oh, you know, two seconds, move on, move on. There was, like, an unspoken respect for the people you had been queuing with, for all those hours, you had come, some people would bow, some would curtsy, some would make the sign of the cross and some people almost feeling guilty about looking, taking a small glance and they continued walking.”
Over the weekend, This Morning bosses released a statement, defending Phillip and Holly’s visit to the Queen lying in state.
It read: “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 added: “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, the pair’s former colleague Eamonn Holmes – who co-hosted This Morning on Fridays with wife Ruth Langsford for 15 years until his departure last year – took a swipe at them over the matter as he hosted coverage of the Queen’s funeral for GB News.
This Morning airs weekdays at 10am on ITV.