Thousands of mourners queue for miles, paying their respects to Queen Elizabeth

  • People line up for hours to deliver the last casket
  • King Charles at Highgrove House
  • The list of funeral attendees is growing

LONDON (Reuters) – Mourners from all walks of life queued in front of Queen Elizabeth’s coffin on Thursday as she lay in London’s Old Westminster Hall, paying their last respects to Britain’s longest-reigning monarch ahead of her funeral. Monday.

People waited in line for hours all night. By mid-morning, the queue stretched about 3 miles (5 km) along the south bank of the Thames, crossing the Lambeth Bridge as it approached Westminster Hall.

With King Charles returning to his home in Highgrove in southern England’s Gloucestershire after days of scheduled events, officials expected around 750,000 people to see his mother’s coffin before the state’s lying-in period ends at 6.30am (0530 GMT) on Monday.

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Some traveled from abroad, dropping bags at nearby hotels to join those slowly moving through Westminster Hall. Among the mourners were former Prime Minister Theresa May and her husband Philip, who bowed their heads in front of the coffin as they passed in front of the audience. Read more

Amy Tsai, 24, said she traveled from Taiwan in May and took part in the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations in June in the Scottish capital, Edinburgh.

“Now I’m waiting in line to see her lying in good shape. I was just shocked,” she said.

Thomas Hughes, 20, who waited nearly 14 hours with his brother, said viewing the coffin was overwhelming.

Others traveled early in the morning to try to miss the crowds later.

“Late yesterday evening, I made a quick decision to get up really early and come here. I wanted to be a part of history,” Paul Francis, 72, said.

Among those lining up were former soldiers with military medals and children carried by their parents. Many are wiping away tears.

Some were there to represent elderly parents, others to witness history and thank a woman who, after ascending the throne in 1952, was still holding official government meetings just two days before her death.

queen of queens

Queen Elizabeth’s body was flown to London on Tuesday from Edinburgh. She died last Thursday at Balmoral Castle, her Scottish summer home, at the age of 96 after 70 years on the throne.

Her coffin is now located in the center of Westminster Hall on a purple epaulette set on a red platform. It was covered with the standard royal flag and topped with the Imperial State Crown placed on a pillow, along with a wreath.

Soldiers and “beefs” – the red-painted guards usually found guarding the Tower of London – stood vigil with bowed heads.

Among the first to arrive was Kenneth Taylor, 72, from Reading in central England, who came with a neighbor and stayed overnight in a tent in a queue.

Taylor said, weeping, that when he saw the Queen lying in good shape, he felt: “A tumor has come into my throat.”

“You know, we’ve lost someone special. Her service to this country has really been constant and steadfast. She was probably what I would call the Queen of Queens.”

The casket was brought into the hall from Buckingham Palace atop a rifle carriage and was accompanied by soldiers in uniform to celebrate in a solemn procession on Wednesday.

King Charles, his sons Princes William and Harry and other senior members of the royal family followed them – and the two princes were united in grief despite their feud. Harry celebrates his 38th birthday on Thursday. Read more

William and his wife Kate will travel to the royal residence in Sandringham, eastern England, on Thursday to watch the floral salute left by members of the public there.

The large-scale ceremonial procession on the day of the Queen’s funeral is likely to be one of the largest the country has ever seen, and would pose a major security challenge.

Kings, presidents, and other world leaders are expected to attend, although some countries, including Russia, Afghanistan and Syria, have not been invited. Read more

French President Emmanuel Macron was the last leader to say he would attend the funeral. Read more

The White House said US President Joe Biden, who also said he would be there, spoke to the new king on Wednesday and “expressed the great admiration of the American people for the Queen.”

The Times reported that British Prime Minister Liz Truss was expected to hold one-on-one talks with Biden and other world leaders on the sidelines of the funeral, but officials said any such meetings would be informal. Read more

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(Covering) Written by Farouk Suleiman, Alistair Smoot, Angus McSwan, Michael Holden, William James, Kate Holton, Kylie McClellan and Elizabeth Piper; Editing by William Maclean and Janet Lawrence

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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