Farewell to the Queen: London expects several million mourners

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Farewell to the Queen
London expects several million mourners

For four days, people in London will have the chance to say goodbye to the Queen’s coffin in person. The British metropolis is preparing for a massive stampede. In fact, it could get as rambunctious as it was at the 2005 funeral of Pope John Paul II in Rome.

The authorities in London are preparing for a big crowd in the British capital at the public farewell of Queen Elizabeth II. About two million mourners are expected to pay their last respects to the monarch at the four-day vigil in the British Parliament alone, senior House of Commons President Peter Bottomley said on BBC 4 radio station.

The coffin containing the remains of Elizabeth II will be set up in the Westminster Hall of the British Parliament from Wednesday. It should be open to the public day and night until Monday morning. “When Queen Mum died, 200,000 people came, we’ll see ten times that now,” said Bottomley, a Conservative Party member.

It was “a sad but wonderful opportunity for people to see both the modernity of the monarchy and its history,” Bottomley said. However, organizing so many people is also a big challenge, not least because of the need for toilets for so many people who have to queue for hours.

Waiting times up to twelve hours

Parliament has already issued instructions for citizens wishing to bid farewell to the Queen in person. Significant wait times can be expected, possibly at night. There are few options to sit down. However, camping chairs are not allowed. Teddy bears and flowers are also not allowed in Parliament.

“The Sun” also quoted employees who handle the logistics of the funeral ceremonies. The waiting time can therefore be up to twelve hours. The lines of people could stretch for several kilometers.

“The Sun” speculates that the mourners could be close to those who bid farewell to Pope John Paul II in 2005 in Rome. The body of the head of the church was then deposited in the Apostolic Palace. About a million people queued for hours to sing, cry and pray for one last glimpse of the Pope.

The increase in hotel bookings in the metropolis also proves that London should expect a stampede. The Travelodge chain, which has nearly 80 hotels in London, announced an increase in guest bookings from all parts of the country. You work “around the clock” to prepare for state law time. “It’s gotten busier since they announced the dates,” said an employee of The Bridge Hotel in London’s Southwark, about half an hour’s walk from Westminster Hall. At the even closer Waterloo Hostel, bookings have increased by 30 percent.

Funeral on September 19

Queen Elizabeth II died on Thursday at the age of 96 at her Scottish estate Balmoral Castle. This Monday afternoon, the Queen’s coffin will be taken in procession to St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, where the Scottish population can say goodbye. The Queen’s body will be flown to London on Tuesday. Next Monday, September 19, the monarch will be laid to rest here with a state funeral.

Numerous international guests have confirmed their attendance at the funeral, including Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and US President Joe Biden with his wife Jill. They are then received by Charles III, who has officially been the new British king since Saturday.

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