Queue swells ahead of Queen’s lying in state

The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II (Jacob King/PA) (PA Wire)
The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II (Jacob King/PA) (PA Wire)

The queue of mourners waiting in central London to attend the Queen’s lying in state increased threefold from eight people at 11am to a line of 24 three hours later at 2pm.

More than a day before the Queen’s lying in state begins at Westminster Hall, well-wishers had already begun to line the banks of the River Thames opposite the Palace of Westminster.

Those waiting in line will be issued wristbands with their number in the queue – allowing them to leave temporarily to use nearby portaloos or buy supplies as they prepare to wait overnight outside Lambeth Palace.

David Carlson, 75, served in the British Army and said he was joining the queue today to pay his final respects to his “boss”.

Mr Carlson, who travelled to Lambeth Palace from Wandsworth, said: “I took an oath to serve her – she was my boss. And she swore an oath when she was young to serve the country for the rest of her life which she did.”

The Queen’s lying in state does not begin until 5pm tomorrow, but Mr Carlson said he was not daunted by having to wait overnight: “I have a plastic bag to sit on and plenty of cigarettes to keep me going, so I’ll be fine.”

Mr Carlson, who served in Malaysia and Indonesia in the 1960s for the 2nd Royal Green Jackets, said he thought King Charles III was doing “a fantastic job”.

He said: “He’s done a fantastic job despite not having time to grieve properly. I feel for the entire royal family.”

Monica Farag, 61, joined the queue of mourners at 8am this morning.

Despite pouring rain in central London throughout much of Tuesday morning, Ms Farag remained insistent that she would attend the Queen’s lying in state: “I’m used to the British weather. I’m staying here overnight – I am not moving.

“I didn’t bring a chair but I can sit on the ground.”

Ms Farag moved to the UK from the Philippines 36 years ago and said that the Queen was respected around the world – including in countries which are not part of the Commonwealth.

She said: “I have great admiration for the Queen. She was a very hard-working and sincere person.”

Stewards in hi-vis jackets and police officers initially outnumbered those in the queue on an overcast morning in central London.

The world’s media had gathered to interview those in the queue – with several of those first in line sporting clothing featuring the Union flag.

Delroy Morrison, 61, travelled from Wembley to join the line of mourners wishing to attend the historic lying in state.

Mr Morrison said: “I got here last night. I’ve got mostly biscuits – and carrots, apples and a pear.

“The most important thing for me to bring was a chair so I can sit down because of health reasons.”

Mr Morrison said that waiting in line was a way of paying his final respects to the Queen: “After 70 years (on the throne), this is nothing – this is a piece of cake.”

He added that it was “impossible to compare” King Charles III to the Queen, but said that the new monarch had “served a very long apprenticeship”.