Britain urges people not to travel to join Queen’s queue

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  • Queen Elizabeth’s grandchildren will hold the vigil
  • Queue to see Queen’s coffin stretches to 24 hours
  • World leaders start arriving in London for funerals

LONDON, Sept 17 (Reuters) – The British government on Saturday urged people not to travel to join the queue outside Queen Elizabeth’s coffin as huge demand means people will have to queue for at least 24 hours to reach it. lying in state.

Tens of thousands of people have already filed past the coffin in a steady and solemn stream, queuing for hours in the dark and cold to pay their respects to Britain’s longest-serving monarch – a testament to the affection in which she was detained.

On Saturday, the culture department said it would suspend entry to the queue if demand gets too high, adding at 1am (0000 GMT): ‘Please don’t travel’ .

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The Queen’s death on September 8 at her summer estate in the Scottish Highlands sparked a wave of emotion across the country and 10 days of highly choreographed events.

After resting in Scotland’s capital for 24 hours, the coffin was transported to south London, where tens of thousands of people gathered on a normally busy road in the pouring rain to watch as the flag-draped coffin was driven at Buckingham Palace.

On Friday evening, King Charles joined his three siblings – Princess Anne and Princes Andrew and Edward in a silent vigil at the coffin while their eight children, including William and Harry, will form their own ceremonial guard later on Saturday.

Like many, Sarah Boniface, a 60-year-old estate agent, was in tears and emotional as she left the grand Westminster Hall on Friday evening after being up for 14 hours after watching the new king hold a vigil as she walked past the coffin.

“It’s worth every minute. Every minute,” she said, visibly fighting back tears. “I am so lucky to have paid homage to the Queen and seen our new King.”


For pensioner Hasmukh Vara, 62, his decision to stand for 13 hours to observe the lie in state reflected his desire to say thank you to the late monarch – and to Britain – after moving to the country from Kenya in the 1970s.

Emerging from the vast, brightly lit room into the cool Friday night darkness by the Thames, he described himself as feeling “very, very high”.

“We came as refugees to this country,” he told Reuters. “For all my life, I am indebted to her because she gave us a home. It’s something we can never, ever forget. It’s very important to me and my family.”

The Queen’s children described being devastated by the reaction to their mother’s death.

Monday’s state funeral, attended by nearly 100 presidents and heads of government, including those of the United States, France, Australia, Japan, Jamaica and Canada, is likely to be one of the most great ceremonies ever held in Britain.

On Friday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern walked past the coffin – one of the first leaders to arrive. The Premier of the Canadian province of Alberta, Jason Kenney, described the rally in central London as “this huge and diverse gathering of people from all over the world”.

On Saturday, King Charles will meet the prime ministers of the 14 other countries where he is head of state. He will also meet with emergency service workers involved in funeral arrangements.

Later, the focus will be on young members of the royal family and their vigil.

Heir to the throne William and his brother Harry, who split in recent years after Harry moved to the US, will both stand guard at the coffin in military uniform.

Harry has served two tours of duty with the British Army in Afghanistan, but so far has appeared in morning processions in costume after losing his honorary military titles when he stepped down from public royal duties .

The wake will be held at the oak coffin, which stands on a purple-clad catafalque, draped with the Royal Standard and with the jeweled Imperial State Crown placed on top.

The two brothers will be joined by their cousins ​​- Peter Phillips and Zara Tindall, children of Princess Anne, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, children of Prince Andrew, and Louise and James, children of Prince Edward.

Police say a man was arrested following a disturbance near the coffin on Friday night, being held for an offense under the Public Order Act.

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Additional reporting by Sachin Ravikumar, editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Alison Williams

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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