Monster Queue through London: The Long, Tough Journey to the Queen’s Coffin

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Monster Snake through London
The long, arduous journey to the queen’s coffin

By Laura Stresing

Thousands of mourners made their way to Westminister Hall to bid farewell to Queen Elizabeth II. The line for the Prince’s coffin runs through London. Except for bathroom breaks, those waiting are only allowed to do a few things.

Queen Elizabeth II is dead and will lie in state in London’s Westminister Hall until Monday morning for the public to bid her farewell. The British Parliament remains open around the clock. Hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world are expected. They all want to experience this historic event live and pay their respects to the deceased monarch.

Since Wednesday at the latest, a gigantic, well-organized queue has been winding through London. According to initial estimates, the waiting time can be up to 30 hours. The warnings on the UK government’s official website are clear: “You will have to stand for many hours, possibly even overnight, with little opportunity to sit down as the line will keep moving.” Between the lines it says: It makes no sense to bring sleeping bags or folding chairs, because we continue crawling.

It is also said there could be disruptions to the streets and local public transport as a result of the monster snake running through London. Those arriving should figure out in advance how best to get to central London.

A live ticker reports on the situation on site

Still, everything seems to be well organised. The British Ministry of Culture provides information about the situation on site in its own live ticker. According to this information, the queue stretched from Westminister Hall to Tower Bridge on Thursday afternoon and was about seven kilometers in total. In the morning the end was still at Southwark Cathedral.

From a length of about 8 kilometers it should be over. Then the queue entrance would be about the same level as Southwark Park – about a two hour walk from Parliament. In order to actually give all those waiting the chance to walk past the Queen’s chest, access must be blocked by Monday evening at the latest.

Until then, the current end of the queue will be published on YouTube social media, Twitter and Facebook announced. The person arriving there will be given a numbered wristband, which is intended to document the guest’s estimated time of arrival. This allows those waiting to leave the queue for a short time, for example to go to the toilet. Then they must immediately take their place again. Toilets, drinking water and first aid posts are available along the indicated route.

An “airport-like” security checkpoint awaits mourners outside the entrance to Westminister Hall. Only small backpacks are allowed, the rest must be handed in after a security scan in a separate cloakroom. In other respects too, the rules in Westminister Hall are strict: mobile phones must be on mute. Flags, toys, flowers and other souvenirs are prohibited. The government also asks for appropriate dress and etiquette.

In general, the government website doesn’t skimp on tips that visitors should be prepared for — including a checklist of things to pack: appropriate clothing, adequate food and drink, essential medications — and a cell phone charger.

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