King Charles shakes hands with well-wishers in queen’s queue

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LONDON, Sept 17 (Reuters) – King Charles shook hands and spoke to well-wishers queuing for hours in central London on Saturday to file past the coffin of his mother, Queen Elizabeth, after thanking emergency workers who are helping to stage the late monarch’s funeral.

To cheers of “hip, hip, hurrah” and shouts of “God save the King”, Charles walked alongside part of the queue waiting to see the queen’s lying-in-state, asking those lining up how long they had been there and whether they were warm enough.

His son and heir, Prince William, also chatted to the crowds wanting to honour the queen who died aged 96 last Thursday.

People are continuing to flock to central London, adding to the already hundreds of thousands who have filed past the coffin in a solemn stream, to pay their respects to Britain’s longest-reigning monarch – a testimony to the affection in which she was held.

With preparations for the Elizabeth’s funeral on Monday well under way, the king visited police headquarters to thank emergency services workers involved in the planning.

London’s police force said on Friday the funeral would be the biggest security operation it has ever undertaken as prime ministers, presidents and royals come together.

Underscoring the risk, police said one man had been detained and arrested after a witness told Sky News he “ran up to the queen’s coffin”. Footage showed a man being pinned to the ground by police officers and taken away.

Charles was also due to greet leaders of the 14 countries where he is head of state such as Canada and Australia, and have lunch with the governors general – the people who represent the monarch in overseas realms – at Buckingham Palace.