If you mention ‘the queue’ in Britain, everyone knows what you mean. The 10-mile-long line of people from all over the world are patiently waiting as long as 14 hours for the chance to be part of history and see the late Queen laying in state in Westminster Hall.
The UK government set up an official, live ‘Queue Tracker’ on YouTube which allows the public to keep track of how long the line is and the length of time it may take to reach the front.
In what has been dubbed one of the biggest and most quickly organized operations in Transport for London history, UK officials have scrambled to manage the tens of thousands of people who are joining the line at all times of the day and night.
At 10 am today, The Queue was temporarily closed to new joiners as it exceeded its 10-mile limit. Thousands of mourners then had to wait in a holding area before they could even begin the long wait to pay their final respects.
“Southwark Park has reached capacity. Entry will be paused for at least 6 hours. We are sorry for any inconvenience. Please do not attempt to join the queue until it re-opens,” read a statement issued by the UK government.
At 6:30 am on Monday, the final member of the public will leave Westminster Hall as the state funeral is set to begin at around 10 am that day.
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Those in The Queue are given wristbands that allow them to leave for a short period to use the bathroom or to go and get food before returning to their place in the line.
As the mourners wait side-by-side for hours, some have made friends and exchanged numbers. Soccer legend, David Beckham was also spotted waiting in line this afternoon. He solemnly bowed his head as he stood before Her Majesty’s coffin.
“This day was always going to be a difficult day. Our thoughts are with the family, it’s very special to hear all of the stories from people here. The most special moment for me was to receive my OBE. I took my grandparents with me who were huge royalists. I was so lucky that I was able to have a few moments like that in my life to be around Her Majesty. It’s a sad day, but a day to remember,” the former Manchester United star told Sky News outside Westminster Hall.
“I thought by coming at 2am it was going to be a little bit quieter, but I was wrong, everybody had that in mind. But the people here, all ages, there was an 84-year-old lady walking around, a 90-year-old gentleman walking around. Everybody wants to be here to be part of this experience and to celebrate what Her Majesty has done for us.”
As liberals bleat about the abolition of the monarchy, the unbelievable outpouring of grief and the sheer length of The Queue goes to show just how much Queen Elizabeth II meant to so many people across the world.