Queen Elizabeth († 96) Paying your last respects requires one thing above all: patience! Thousands of people have already queued for two to four kilometers on the first day of their laying out in Westminster Hall. 'It's surreal. We waited six to seven hours,' says a mourner. You can see how blatant the rush to the British Parliament, where the deceased monarch is, really was in our video above.
In a country famed for perfecting orderly queuing, the queue at Westminster Hall is no exception. As early as 5 p.m. on September 14, the first visitors began to line up in the five-kilometre queue in the sunshine. The atmosphere was relaxed: people were equipped with chairs, blankets and picnic baskets. But as the Queen's coffin after the funeral procession arrived, the mood changed noticeably. Some had waited two days for this moment, enduring first rain then sun, tight security and officially sanctioned queuing.
In awe-inspiring silence, they descended the steps of the 11th-century hall to pay their respects to the Queen, many still wearing the yellow armbands that marked their place in the queue. After the long wait, it took them little more than three minutes to walk past the coffin.
Around 750,000 people are expected to descend on London over the next five days to see the Queen's coffin. Westminster Hall seats 350,000 people. But 'only' 3,000 people per hour can visit the coffin. There are mixed reports about how long the queues could be. Culture Minister Michelle Donelan warned that the waiting time could last up to 30 hours. (lkr)