Thousands brave 20-hour queue to see Queen’s coffin

People packed jumpers, plasterboards and snacks to keep going (Image: AP/EPA/Getty)

People brought jumpers, screeds and snacks to keep them going (Image: AP/EPA/Getty)

Thousands braved the cold to join a nearly four-mile queue to reach the Queen’s coffin at Westminster Hall.

The temperature is expected to plummet to 7 degrees Celsius during the night, while similar chills are expected on Saturday.

As darkness fell this afternoon, the ‘tail’ was still winding its way through central London.

A steady stream of people, bundled up in jumpers and blankets, chatted with new friends as they waited.

A man with a torch could be seen painting the now famous Queue.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) online tracker says the expected waiting time is currently around 19.5 hours.

“Temperatures at night will be low,” the government also warned in its latest update.

St John Ambulance urged those waiting overnight to take precautions.

Rescuers have already treated 435 people along the route of ‘The Queue’ and surrounding areas in the past two days.

Members of the public queue along the Embankment, with the Palace of Westminster, the Houses of Parliament and the Elizabeth Tower, commonly referred to as Big Ben, in the background to pay their respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II, who is lying in state at Westminster Abbey, London, at sunset on September 16, 2022, - Queen Elizabeth II will lie in state at the Palace of Westminster until 05:30 GMT on September 19, just hours before her funeral, with huge queues expected to pass by her coffin to pay their respects.  (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN/AFP) (Photo by ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images)

The current queue time is 19.5 hours (Image: AFP)

People line up to visit Britain's Queen Elizabeth as she lies in state after her death, in London, Britain September 16, 2022. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

Temperatures have plunged with emergency warnings to close (Image: Reuters)

People line up along the River Thames near Tower Bridge to pay their respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II during the Lying In, at Westminster Hall in London, Friday, September 16, 2022. The Queen will lie in state at Westminster Hall for four full days before her funeral on Monday 19 September.  (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

People queue along the River Thames as Tower Bridge glows in the background (Image: AP)

A huge line continues to lead towards Westminster Hall as an undaunted steady stream of people stream in to say their final goodbyes to the Queen.

Tatie Kirst, 38, of Canada Water in southeast London, a project manager who had just joined the queue at Southwark Park, said: “Well, it’s a trip right?

“I think I’m prepared, I brought my good coat, I have a stool if I need to sit, I take food and water and we’ll walk.

“I think there’s always a question, is it worth it? I can make it; And I hope so.


St John’s Ambulance crews on how to ‘beat the queue’

  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothes
  • Stay hydrated and bring snacks
  • Be prepared for all weather conditions – the forecast is for hot days and much cooler nights with temperatures dropping into the single digits
  • Seek medical help from St John volunteers if you are injured or feel unwell.

“I wanted to be a part of that, to pay my respects to the queen.”

Around 2,000 volunteers have offered their medical support with the funeral and burial of the late monarch.

Dr Lynn Thomas, medical director of St John Ambulance, urged people to pack the essentials – layers, blister plasters and food.

He added: “Try to keep your feet dry as this will help maintain your core temperature. For those waiting for the night, it’s getting cold so wrap up warm. Consider bringing plenty of thin, thermal layers instead of heavy, bulky jumpers, as these can draw heat away from your body.’

A police officer stands guard as members of the public queue along the Embankment, with the Palace of Westminster, the Houses of Parliament and the Elizabeth Tower, commonly referred to as Big Ben, in the background to pay their respects Queen Elizabeth II lying in state at Westminster Abbey, London, at sunset on September 16, 2022, - Queen Elizabeth II will lie in state at the Palace of Westminster until 05:30 GMT on September 19, just hours before the funeral of her, with huge queues expected to line her coffin to pay their respects.  (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN/AFP) (Photo by ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images)

A police officer stands guard as people queue along the Embankment (Image: Getty Images)

An artist paints a picture of people queuing to visit Britain's Queen Elizabeth as she lies in state after her death, in London, Britain September 16, 2022. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

An artist paints a picture as history unfolds before him (Image: Reuters)

People queue at Victoria Tower Gardens to visit Britain's Queen Elizabeth as she lies in state after her death in London, Britain September 16, 2022. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

The lines were earlier built in Victoria Tower Gardens (Image: Reuters)

“Make sure you bring plenty of food and water to stay hydrated. We do see people passing out, but you can reduce the risk by making sure you eat and drink regularly to help regulate your blood sugar.

“This is a difficult time for many and the news can affect people in different ways. So look out for each other and if you are upset and struggling emotionally, get help and talk to someone.

“Last but not least, please go to a St John Ambulance treatment center or first aid station or see one of our volunteers if you or someone you are with is injured or unwell.”

Downing Street maintains that the queue system will schedule.

James Birchall, 33, a trainee physiotherapist who traveled from Liverpool to pay his respects, was also among those queuing tonight.

He said: “Now I feel just normal and numb, but as I get closer and closer [to the Queen’s coffin] I think I’ll start to get more emotional and maybe five minutes before I go in I’ll probably, even though I’m not that type of person, I’ll probably start to cry.’

Also queuing was Vlasta Picker, 73, from Bedford, who said: “I came here in 1977 on the Silver Jubilee.

“Growing up in central Europe, the monarchy was a thing of the past, history.

“I was really fascinated, she was huge in 1977 and I’ve admired her ever since because she was a wonderful person, unique.

“Serving her whole life to the end, that’s something, isn’t it? Unprecedented. And that’s why I want to be here.’

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