Ahead of Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral on Monday, mourners have been lining up for miles in London to pay their respects in person. The monarch’s lying-in-state at the Palace of Westminster began 5 p.m. local time on Wednesday, and the raised catafalque is on public viewing for 24 hours a day until 6:30 a.m. on Monday, September 19, a few hours before the funeral is set to begin.
A truly massive amount of people have been patiently waiting for their turn.
“If you wish to attend the Lying-in-State in person, please note that there will be a queue, which is expected to be very long. You will need to stand for many hours, possibly overnight, with very little opportunity to sit down as the queue will be continuously moving,” the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport warned on their website.
On Friday, the UK government temporarily closed the queue for about six hours, and it officially closed down for being at capacity by 10:30 p.m. local time on Sunday. The queue ends at London’s Southwark Park and snakes along the south bank of the River Thames, with people passing landmarks including the London Eye, Tower Bridge, and Tate Modern. For those waiting, there’s even an official queue map and live queue tracker on YouTube, posted by the DCMS. The line has consistently averaged almost 5 miles long, with wait times commonly exceeding 24 hours and nightly temperatures dropping to 41 degrees Fahrenheit on early Saturday morning. The arduous conditions of the queue have of course led to many cheeky memes.
King Charles, along with Prince William, surprised the grieving public on Saturday, when they popped out to thank mourners in line, with crowds cheering “hip hip, hooray.” Queen-related souvenirs have been sold, and many people have been arriving dressed in British-related costumes and Union Jack garb. Volunteers, food vendors (including ice cream), bag storage, and first aid have been available along the route, with over 500 portable toilets. With the line continuously moving, once one reaches the Palace of Westminster, they’re met with airport-style security to briefly pay their respects inside.