‘Overnight’ queues expected for Queen Elizabeth in state | Political news
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to travel to London to march past the Queen’s coffin amid tight security.
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to file past Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin during her laying in state which will begin Wednesday evening and continue around the clock until early on the day of her funeral.
The UK Culture Ministry said members of the public could parade past the coffin 24 hours a day from 5:00 p.m. local time (4:00 p.m. GMT) on Wednesday September 14 until 6:30 a.m. (05:30 GMT) on September 19.
“Those wishing to attend will have to queue for many hours, possibly overnight,” the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said in its guidelines, stressing that there would be few opportunities for people to sit down as the queue would be continuously moving.
“Large crowds are expected and people are encouraged to check ahead, plan accordingly and be prepared for long wait times.”
The British Times newspaper said officials expected an “unprecedented” number of people and the queue could stretch up to eight kilometers (five miles). Some 1,500 soldiers will be deployed to help the thousands of civilian stewards cope with the crowds.
The government is preparing for the ‘very real possibility’ of London becoming ‘full’ for the first time, he added, saying rail companies may have to tell passengers not to try to get into the city.
Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, who died aged 96 on September 8, will be buried next Monday at a state funeral attended by world leaders.
Tens of thousands of people have already laid flowers at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, as crowds gathered in Scotland on Sunday to watch his funeral procession make its six-hour journey from Balmoral in the Scottish Highlands to Edinburgh .
More are expected to line the city streets on Monday as the flag-draped coffin is taken to the 12th-century St. Giles Cathedral with members of the royal family, including Charles III, walking behind.
King Charles will hold a 24-hour vigil while the coffin remains at the cathedral “to allow the people of Scotland to pay their last respects”, a palace official said.
On Tuesday, the Queen’s daughter, Princess Anne, will accompany the coffin on a Royal Air Force flight to the British capital before it is taken to Buckingham Palace.
The following day there will be a ceremonial procession through central London, after which the lying in state at Westminster Hall, the oldest of the buildings that make up parliament, is due to begin.
The closed coffin will be placed on a raised platform called a catafalque in the Westminster Hall of Parliament.
“There will likely be public transport delays and road closures in the region,” the ministry warned.
Visitors will need to go through airport-style security, turning off their phones beforehand.
They will only be allowed to bring one small bag with a zipper, and no food and drink, flowers or other tributes into the building.
“Please respect the dignity of this event and behave appropriately. You should remain silent inside the Palace of Westminster,” the council said.