‘Loving a queue’: Thousands wait in line to pay respects to queen

LONDON: Thousands of mourners lined up to line up around the center of London on Wednesday, not complaining they could have to wait hours to see the late Queen Elizabeth lying in state.
Some even defied the rain and slept on the sidewalks overnight to secure their spot in the queue, which can stretch 10 miles to get into Westminster Hall, the oldest building on the parliament grounds. The late queen will reign until her funeral on Monday.
As people begin to walk past the Queen’s coffin in Westminster Hall from 5pm (1600 GMT), many stopped for a moment to bow and some wiped away their tears.
Government officials said they could not give an exact figure on how many people wanted to pass the queen’s coffin, but expected about 750,000. At 16:45 GMT, the government said the queue was about 2.6 miles long.
The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, told those in line, saying: “We are honoring two great British traditions, love the queen and love a queue.”
Kenneth TaylorThe 72-year-old, who stayed overnight in the tent to be one of the first in line, said a lump popped up in his throat as he watched the queen lie in state.
“We’ve lost someone special,” Taylor said tearfully. “Her service to this country is truly steadfast and unchanging. And she is perhaps what I would call the queen of queens.”
Of those gathered, some were there to represent aging parents, others to witness history and many to thank a woman, who ascended the throne in 1952, still was holding official government meetings just two days before her death.
Mark Bonser, 59, from Doncaster in northern England says the queen is “people’s second mother”.
“She gave us 70 years of her life. I’m sure I could give my 24 hours, just give her that respect,” he said of the queen, who passed away on last week, at the age of 96, at Balmoral Castle In Scotland.
The overwhelming sadness over Elizabeth’s death drew crowds in Scotland, where she lay for 24 hours in St Giles’ Church in Edinburgh. About 33,000 people paid their respects during that time.
The memorial in London, which lasted nearly five days and ended on the morning of her funeral, was a much larger occasion.
Hundreds of thousands of people predicted to join the stream will be asked to line up along the south bank of the Thames, winding past landmarks including the giant London Eye and the reconstruction of Shakespeare’s Globe. .
When joining the queue, mourners will be given a colored bracelet that will be numbered and allow them to briefly leave the queue to go to the bathroom or get food and drinks.
More than 1,000 managers, volunteers, sheriffs and police officers will line the route, providing first aid to those who may find the wait too long. The British Film Institute will have an outdoor screen showing footage of the queen and her reign.

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