| 28 September 2022, Wednesday |

The queen’s queue: people line up for 16 hours to see coffin

People flocked to central London to join a queue to file past the coffin of Queen Elizabeth on Saturday, undeterred by a government warning to stay at home to avoid standing in line for hours to see the late monarch’s lying-in-state.

Tens of thousands of people have already filed past the coffin in a steady, solemn stream, queuing for hours through the dark and cold to pay their respects to Britain’s longest-reigning monarch – a testimony to the affection in which she was held.

By mid-morning, the culture ministry said the waiting time stood at up to 16 hours to reach Westminster Hall to take part.

Earlier, the ministry had said it would pause entry to the queue if demand became too high, adding at 1 a.m. (0000 GMT): “Please do not travel.”

New friendships, acts of kindness and the struggles of standing in line for hours, sometimes overnight, have come to define what has become known as just “the queue”.

The death of the queen on Sept. 8 at her summer estate in the Scottish highlands has sparked an outpouring of emotion across the country and 10 days of choreographed events.

Having laid at rest in the Scottish capital for 24 hours the coffin was flown south to London, where tens of thousands of people crowded onto a normally busy road in driving rain to observe the flag-draped casket being driven to Buckingham Palace.

The queen’s children have described being overwhelmed by the reaction to their mother’s death.

The state funeral on Monday, to be attended by nearly 100 presidents and heads of government including those from the United States, France, Australia, Japan, Jamaica and Canada, is likely to be one of the biggest ceremonial events ever held in Britain.

  • Reuters