‘Loving a queue’: Thousands queue to pay tribute to the Queen

LONDON: Thousands of mourners took their places in a queue around central London on Wednesday, uncomplainingly acknowledging they may have to wait hours to see the late Queen Elizabeth lie in state.
Some even braved the rain and slept on the pavement overnight to secure their place in the queue, which could stretch for 10 miles to gain access to Westminster Hall, the oldest building on the estate that houses Parliament where the The late queen will lie in state until her funeral on Monday.
As people began to file past the Queen’s coffin at Westminster Hall from 5pm. (1600 GMT), many stopped for a moment to bow their heads and some wiped away tears.
Government officials said they could not give an exact figure for how many would want to walk past the Queen’s coffin, but about 750,000 people were expected. At 1645 GMT, the government said the tail was about 2.6 miles.
The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, speaking to people on the line, said: “We honor two great British traditions, loving the Queen and loving a queue.”
Kenneth TaylorThe 72-year-old, who stayed overnight in a tent to be one of the first in the queue, said a lump had come up in his throat as he watched the Queen lie in state.
“We lost someone special,” said a tearful Taylor. “Her service to this country has been truly steadfast and unwavering. And she’s probably what I would call the queen of queens.”
Among those gathered, some were there to represent elderly parents, others to witness history and many to thank a woman who, having ascended the throne in 1952, was still holding official government meetings just two days before she died.
Mark Bonser, 59, from Doncaster in northern England said the Queen was “everyone’s second mother”.
“She gave us 70 years of her life. I’m sure I can give 24 hours of mine, just give her that respect,” he said of the Queen, who died last week aged 96, in Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
The outpouring of grief caused by Elizabeth’s death has already drawn large crowds in Scotland, where she lay in state for 24 hours at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh. Around 33,000 people paid their respects during this period.
The London memorial, which lasts almost five days and ends on the morning of her funeral, is a much larger occasion.
The hundreds of thousands expected to join the line will be asked to queue along the south bank of the River Thames, passing landmarks including the giant London Eye ferris wheel and a reconstruction of Shakespeare’s Globe theatre.
Once in line, mourners will be given a colored wristband which will be numbered and allow them to leave the line briefly to use the toilet or get food and drink.
More than 1,000 flight attendants, volunteers, marshals and police will line the route, with first aid provided to those who may find the wait too much. The British Film Institute will have an outdoor screen broadcasting footage of the Queen and her reign.

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