Thousands of mourners lined up snaking through central London, acknowledging without complaint that they may have to wait hours to see the late Queen Elizabeth lying in the state.
Some even braved the rain and slept on the sidewalk overnight to secure their position in the queue, which could stretch for 10 miles to reach Westminster Hall, the oldest building on the estate housing the parliament where the late queen will rest. until his funeral on Monday.
When people began parading past the Queen’s coffin in Westminster Hall from 5pm, many paused for a moment to nod and some dried their tears.
Government officials said they could not give a precise figure on how many people would have wanted to pass the queen’s coffin, but around 750,000 people were expected.
At 5:45 pm on Wednesday, the government said the queue was about 4.1 km long.
The Archbishop of York, Stephen Cottrell, addressing the people in line, said: “We honor two great British traditions, loving the queen and loving the tail.
Kenneth Taylor, 72, who spent the night in a tent to be one of the first in line, said a lump in his throat went up in his throat when he saw the queen lying in state.
“We’ve lost someone special,” Taylor tearfully said.
“His service to this country has been truly consistent and unwavering. And she is probably what I would call the queen of queens. “
Among those present, some were present to represent elderly relatives, others to witness history, and many to thank a woman who, having ascended the throne in 1952, still held official government meetings just two days before her death.
Mark Bonser, 59, of Doncaster in the north of England, said the Queen was “everyone’s second mother”.
“He gave us 70 years of his life. I’m sure I can give her 24 hours of mine, just give her that respect, “she said of the queen, who died last week at the age of 96 at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
The outpouring of sadness aroused by Elizabeth’s death has already drawn large crowds to Scotland, where she spent 24 hours in Edinburgh’s St Giles’ Cathedral.
About 33,000 people paid their respects during this period.
The London memorial, which lasts nearly five days and ends on the morning of his funeral, is a much bigger occasion.
The hundreds of thousands of people expected to join the line will be asked to queue along the south bank of the River Thames, passing landmarks such as the giant London Eye observation wheel and a reconstruction of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater.
Upon entering the queue, mourners will receive a colored bracelet which will be numbered and will allow them to briefly leave the queue to use the bathroom or get food and drink.
More than 1,000 stewards, volunteers, marshals and police will cost the route, with first aid provided to those who find the wait too long.
The British Film Institute will have an outdoor screen showing images of the queen and her kingdom.