A BBC actor has been branded “repulsive” for sharing a “horrible comment” ahead of the Queen’s funeral.

Shetland star Douglas Henshall has come under fire for suggesting the Queens coffin is empty, ahead of the late monarch’s funeral on Monday.

Since 5pm on Wednesday, hundreds of thousands of members of the public have filed past the coffin until, early on Monday morning, the final people who had queued through the night left the cavernous medieval hall.

The process has seen a river of people snaking along the Thames around the clock, with members of the public mixing with celebrities and foreign dignitaries beneath Westminster Hall’s hammer-beam roof.

Henshall asked on social media: "Do you think the Queue would be so long if people knew that the Queen isn’t in that coffin ? Or do they know and it’s just symbolic ?"

What to expect at the Queen's funeral

The comment faced backlash from other social media users.

One user replied:  "Would you even consider suggesting such an offensive opinion as that if the person in the coffin belonged to a member of your family and your friends and family came to pay their respects prior to their funeral? You're a repulsive individual!"

"What a horrible comment. People come to give their respects. Time to be quiet," added another.

A third said: Do you think you could just wind your neck in for a while and respect people’s grief and the grief of a family and acknowledge that no one is queuing to see a body or a coffin. Honestly such a brilliant actor and yet completely devoid of basic respect."

The Queen is to be reunited with her husband the Duke of Edinburgh as she is laid to rest in a historic state funeral.

Crowds of mourners have flocked to London, Windsor and royal sites throughout the UK on the national bank holiday, with the service set to draw millions of TV viewers across the globe.

The royal family, including Prince George and Princess Charlotte, will be among the 2,000 people gathered at Westminster Abbey to remember the late monarch on Monday morning, before a committal service at Windsor Castle.