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With flags and teapots, huge crowds await the Queen’s funeral According to Reuters

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© Reuters. People camp the day before the funeral of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth, after her death, in London, England September 18, 2022. REUTERS / Marko Djurica

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By Andrew MacAskill and Stephen Farrell

LONDON (Reuters) – Thousands of people, many of whom had camped out overnight, lined the route of Queen Elizabeth’s funeral on Monday to bid farewell to the only British monarch most people have ever seen. know.

London City Hall said at 09:20 a.m. (0820 GMT) that all central areas for viewing the procession in the city were full.

“We wanted to come and see this historic event, be a part of it, and pay our respects to the Queen and thank her for her long life of service. I think we do. It’s probably going to be pretty emotional at the end of it,” said Alison Cornish, 66, of Ashford (NYSE:) in Kent.

Cornish was waiting on the Shopping Centre, London’s major ceremonial boulevard next to Buckingham Palace, where a crowd of 15-20 had stood at 8:30am.

“Emotions are not something I try to express, but maybe I will,” said Robin, 66, her husband.

The best prepared have tents, sleeping bags, tea pots and ladders, while others just sit or sleep on the ground in their coats.

Melanie Odey, 60, a teacher, stands in front of a fence along the Mall. She had camped in a tent with her two daughters and grandchildren after arriving on Sunday afternoon.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a part of history, to pay your respects,” she said.

“The atmosphere is unique. I had to come. It was definitely worth it,” she said, adding that it was the least she could do to honor the late monarch.

“She cares a lot about this country.”

There is a remarkable intersection of society on the street, between the young and the old. People have come to London from all over the UK and the world to witness the state funeral.

Some were silent and gloomy, dressed in black. Others are more optimistic. A group of three women wearing Union Jack hats sing “God Save the Queen”. A woman with green dyed hair and a piercing on her face stands next to a man in a morning suit.

CELEBRATION OF LIFE

Shelly Chugg and Anita Evans, colleagues at Cardiff Council, left Wales at 1am for London.

“I’m not going to miss this,” said Chugg, 51, who recalls seeing the queen as a child in 1977 during her silver celebration.

“I was going to wear black, but it’s also a celebration of the Queen’s life, right? She likes to stand out from the crowd,” added Evans, 50, wearing a white hoodie and green top.

Anna Kathryn took the 3am train from Richmond, south-west London, hoping to see the queen’s hearse. Like the majority of the crowd, she had never met or seen the queen. However, she said her family feels they have a personal bond with her.

“Just like we had a dead person in the family, we couldn’t miss this one,” she said.

“She was a bright spot in everyone’s life and now it feels like that light has gone out.”

Some in the crowd said they were surprised to find themselves forced to mourn with strangers.

Alistair Campbell Binnings, 64, left home in Norfolk at midnight. “This is a one-time only. We will only be here for the queen. We just feel we have to be here,” he said.

“She’s what we need in times of crisis.”

As he prepared to watch a funeral rich in tradition, he said there was something uniquely British about the sight.

“Only Britain would do something like this on such a large scale,” he said. “I don’t usually go to royal events, but we are witnessing history. Today, this is the place to be.”

Katie Williams, a 43-year-old nurse, arrived in London on Sunday. Clutching a bouquet of flowers in one hand and a packet of tissues on her sleeve, she called the queen “grandmother of the nation”.

“She’s a kind of magnet that attracts people from all over the country. We all love her, we all respect her.”

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