Watch: Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield make statement on 'queue jumping'
The This Morning stars have been accused of 'jumping-the-queue' after they were filmed dressed in black and wearing official lanyards as they were ushered through Westminster Hall — where the late Queen's coffin lay ahead of her funeral — while others queues for hours, sometimes through the night, to pay their respects.
Willoughby said in a statement on the show: "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 respects walked along a carpeted area beside the coffin and were given time to pause.
Watch: Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield attend the Queen's lying in state
"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 we totally understand the reaction.
"Please know that we would never jump a queue."
The pair were shown outside Westminster Hall reflecting on what a moving experience it had been to attend.
A petition calling for Willoughby and Schofield to be axed from television has now garnered over 14,000 signatures.
ITV has said in a statement on social media: “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.”
Footage of Willoughby, 41, and Schofield, 60, at Westminster Hall came as other celebrities queued patiently like the rest of the public.