Yesterday I stood in The Mall to attend the procession of the Queen’s coffin from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall, then queued for 7 hours to see the Queen lying in state. It was a long day, but am very glad to have done so, both as a Royalist and as a mark of respect to the Queen and her 70 years of service to this nation.
Met my church friend Beryl at Victoria station and we got to The Mall around 11am. We were very lucky to get to the front row (well she got the front row and I was 2nd row). After viewing this very emotional event, I decided to join the queue to see the Queen lying in state. Beryl was not interested, as, like many, she had heard the headlines about it possibly being 5 miles long and 30 hours queuing time. Undeterred I crossed Lambeth Bridge(where we saw those very first people in the queue – who had been queuing since Monday night and had been featured on TV) and trekking 3 miles down river to the edge of London Bridge – where I joined the end of the queue! After about half an hour, the queue started to rapidly move and we eventually stopped around Waterloo Bridge. This was where we were finally handed wristbands (I think they must have run out earlier, which was quite concerning to those of us for a while, as there would be nothing to stop any criminal queue jumpers).
My Facebook Summary: For those that may want to know the queue took 7 hours, but am very glad to have done it. It was a very moving experience, there were remarkable things to see along the way and you got quite a few minutes for the actual walking past. To describe the queue experience: The 2 – 3 hours along the river is quite alright and moves surprisingly quickly, some people even had a beer & you chat to all your new queue friends so time goes surprisingly fast! once you cross Lambeth Bridge and hit Westminster Palace grounds, things do slow down, the 2.5 hours of shuffling along queue lanes was a bit tough going, but then you finally get to the airport security and the police there cheer you up! their bag scanner tried to eat my bag and they thought this was very funny. Once past there, you know you’re in the last hour and the end is in sight.
Tips are: check where the end is on the “Her Majesty The Queen’s Lying-in-State – Queue Tracker” YouTube page or Twitter link. Wednesday night I heard it was around the Tate Modern(that’s shorter than where I started, but a similar time length) and make sure to get a wrist band! A friend ended up joining the queue at 6:30am Thursday morning and got there at 11am. My niece queued on Thursday night just before 10pm, the queue by then was in Southwark Park (past the Tower of London) and queued for nearly 11hours, walking at 8am in the morning. A couple of hours after her, David Beckham spent 12 hours queuing(what a Super Star that man is) and later that day they ended up closing the queue for several hours due to reaching capacity, queue times increased to 24 hours, but are now down to about 11 hours.