London: Queen queue hits 11 hours and nearly 5 miles in length

People queuing to see the Queen's coffin

People in the queue overnight were waiting 14 hours (Picture: Getty)

The wait to reach Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin is now more than 11 hours and the queue stretches at least 4.4 miles – but many say it is worth it.

Before Her Majesty is laid to rest during her state funeral on Monday, September 19, Westminster Hall is open 24 hours a day for people to pay their last respects.

There are three days left to see the monarch lying in state until the doors of the historical landmark close to members of the public at 6.30am on Monday.

The prospect of showers later today also does not seem to have deterred people arriving from all corners of the country.

Nurse Melanie Pickman, 50, left her home in Swansea at 11am to join the back of the line just before 3pm yesterday.

The mum-of-three said: ‘My sons think I’m mad because I have come to London to stand in a queue which some people say could be 30 hours long.

‘Last night I thought about it and I made the decision to come first thing this morning. I just thought that I needed to come.

People queuing walk past Parliament and Big Ben Tower

People queuing walk past Parliament and Big Ben Tower (Picture: EPA)

People queuing to see the Queen's coffin

Some mourners were carrying the Union Jack flag with them (Picture: EPA)

To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web
browser that
supports HTML5
video

People queuing to see the Queen's coffin

Firefighters were seen handing out bottles of water to mourners (Picture: Reuters)

‘We will never see this again. She served our country for such a long time. We owe it to her to show our respect.

‘Look at all these people who have shown up to queue – she has made them happy.

‘She may be the Queen but she is also somebody’s mum, aunty and granny. I just think she is part of us as well. We have been lucky to have her.’

The wait time had jumped to 14 hours in the early hours of this morning although the mileage remained the same.

Firefighters were seen handing out bottles of water, while St John Ambulance volunteers were also at the scene.

At least 400 people in the queue had to be treated, with more than half that number on Wednesday.

People queuing to see the Queen's coffin

St John Ambulance volunteers were also at the scene (Picture: PA)

People queuing to see the Queen's coffin

Mourners welcomes the sunrise this morning while queuing (Picture: Reuters)

People queuing to see the Queen's coffin

Though the wait was long and tiring, many said it was worth it (Picture: Getty)

While a small number of patients having presented with serious conditions, the most common complaints were blisters, dehydration and feeling faint.

But for most, queuing to see the Queen’s coffin was a ‘rewarding’ experience.

Marc Carney finally entered Westminster Hall at 6.40pm after travelling from his home in Hythe, Kent, on Thursday morning.

The moment he got to say his personal goodbye left him ‘struck by the realism’ of everything that is happening.

‘It hits you how moving it all us and how much love and support there’s for the Queen,’ the 58-year-old said.

People queuing to see the Queen's coffin

Fast food trucks and cafes stayed open to feed those in line (Picture: Getty)

People queuing to see the Queen's coffin

Temperatures remained mild overnight, in the early 20°C (Picture: Shutterstock)

Mr Carney joined the queue at about 11.30am and said ‘it had been difficult to find the end of it because the line kept on growing as I was walking towards it’.

He added: ‘It was so rewarding and peaceful in lots of ways. You also got to see London under a different cloud.

‘It was worth it making that long journey. It makes you focus on what you are here for.’

Though the temperatures were mild, in the early 20°Cs, mourners mostly arrived prepared, with warm blankets and raincoats in hand.

As they passed landmarks including Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, there was lots of good-natured chatter and discussions about the Queen’s 70-year reign.

Amy Harris, 34, and Matthew Edwards, 35, met James Cross, 65, after getting the train to London from Birmingham to join the queue at about 1am.

Mr Cross said: ‘Everyone in the queue was very friendly, chatting and having a laugh. It was really quite lovely.’

Mr Edwards said that everyone was offering biscuits and drinks, adding that the three were now planning to have a pint together after the long wait.

Meanwhile, Ms Harris said the atmosphere in Westminster Hall was ‘breathtaking, adding: ‘When you’re able to go in and have a moment to look at it and reflect, the serenity of it – to be able to pay your respects in such a serene place, it’s very peaceful.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.