OPINION - ‘Don’t join queue’ warning as the ‘Elizabeth Line’ hits 14 hours

 (Ben Turner)
(Ben Turner)

The entrance to the queue to see Queen Elizabeth as she lies in state was shut today as the five-mile line that stretches from Westminster to Southwark Park reached capacity. You can see the latest updates from the live stream here.

But David Beckham made it in. He joined the queue at 2am and 12 hours later reached Victoria Gardens. After an exceptionally busy week, I’m too exhausted to be cynical about this. Give that man a knighthood.

Following the initial shock of last Thursday evening, which stayed with us into the weekend, the mood has brightened in recent days. Puns are back, for instance, as people join ‘The Queue’ and wait in the ‘Elizabeth Line’ while drinking coffee from thermos flasks and sharing sandwiches.

And Monday’s funeral is set to serve as the denouement. The gravity of the moment will scarcely feel more apparent. All those heads of state, packed into Westminster Abbey, hymns sung, readings read. No doubt we’ll be told how many people watched on television in Britain and around the world.

But then... we go on. King Charles will reign. Politics will return with a vengeance, with a mini-budget expected on Friday. Debates about OBR forecasts, energy bills and bankers’ bonuses will spark.

All of a sudden it’s party conference season. And as summer turns to autumn those other running conflicts return to front of mind, from Ukraine – where further horrors have been uncovered – to UK/EU bickering over the Northern Ireland Protocol.

But we won’t forget this momentous week in a hurry. Queen Elizabeth II enjoyed a remarkable 70-year stretch, one that drew to a close with all the pomp, pageantry and quiet solemnity the British state and its subjects still possess in abundance.

In the comment pages, 30 years on from ‘Black Wednesday’, the day the pound fell out of the Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM), Business Editor Jonathan Prynn surveys the damage as sterling suffers a new hammering with dollar parity in sight.

While Paul Flynn says London Fashion Week must be fabulous – it’s what Her Majesty would have wanted. Paul also has a short in which he throws just the right amount of shade in the direction of Uncoupled, Darren Star’s ‘Sex and The City for gays‘.

And finally, we’re not a regular financial district, we’re a cool financial district. The City of London has set its sight on becoming a ‘Destination City’, with events backed by £2.5 million budget to reinvigorate the Square Mile.

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