LONDON: Thousands of mourners lined up in a meandering queue around central London on Wednesday, uncomplainingly acknowledging that they might have to wait hours to see the late Queen Elizabeth lying in state.
Some even braved the rain and slept on the pavement overnight to secure their position in the queue, which could stretch 10 miles to gain access to Westminster Hall, the oldest building on the estate that houses parliament where the late queen will rest until her funeral on Monday.
As people began to file past the Queen’s coffin in Westminster Hall from 5 p.m. (1600 GMT), many paused for a moment to bow their heads and some wiped away tears.
Government officials said they could not put a precise figure on how many people would want to pass the Queen’s coffin, but around 750,000 people were expected. At 4.45pm GMT, the government said the queue was around 2.6 miles long.
The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, addressing people in the line, said: ‘We honor two great British traditions, loving the Queen and loving a queue.
Kenneth taylor72, who spent the night in a tent to be one of the first in line, said a lump went to his throat as he saw the queen lying in state.
“We lost someone special,” Taylor said in tears. “Her service to this country has been truly consistent and unwavering. And she’s probably what I would call the queen of queens.”
Among those gathered, some were there to represent elderly relatives, 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 her dead.
Mark Bonser, 59, from Doncaster, northern England, said the Queen was “everyone’s second mother”.
“She gave us 70 years of her life. I’m sure I can give her 24 hours of mine, just give her that respect,” he said of the Queen, who died last week, to the age of 96, Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
The outpouring of sadness sparked by Elizabeth’s death has already drawn large crowds to Scotland, where she spent 24 hours in Edinburgh’s St Giles Cathedral. About 33,000 people paid their respects during this time.
The London memorial, which lasts almost five days and ends on the morning of his funeral, is a much bigger 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 such as the London Eye’s giant Ferris wheel and a recreation of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater .
Upon joining the queue, mourners will receive a colored bracelet which will be numbered and will allow them to briefly leave the queue to use the restroom or obtain food and drink.
More than 1,000 stewards, volunteers, marshals and police will line the route, with first aid being provided to those who find the wait too long. The British Film Institute will have an outdoor screen showing images of the Queen and her reign.



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