On Thursday in London, people lined up to pay their respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II as they stood in line. Photographs by Stephane de Sakutin/AFP/Getty remove caption
switch to caption Photographs by Stephane de Sakutin/AFP/Getty
On Thursday in London, people lined up to pay their respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II as they stood in line.
Photographs by Stephane de Sakutin/AFP/Getty LONDON Over the past few days, a nation’s collective sadness over the passing of Queen Elizabeth II has taken on a particularly British shape. Thousands of people have queued for hours at a time to pay their respects to the late king in a coffin, lying in state at the center of the country’s parliamentary democracy, in a country noted for its orderly lines, or queues. Now, the line is nearly five miles long.
Before Elizabeth’s royal funeral on Monday, people from all over the U.K. have flown to London to pay their respects in person to the country’s longest-reigning monarch. After her seven decades on the throne came to an end this week, she is the only monarch that the vast majority of her former people have known in their lifetimes.
The response from the people has been so overwhelming that by Friday morning the queues had been stopped for 6 hours as Southwark Park reached capacity.
People line up outside Westminster Hall to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II as she lies in state. Author: Christopher Furlong remove caption
switch to caption Author: Christopher Furlong
People line up outside Westminster Hall to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II as she lies in state.
Author: Christopher Furlong
People line up along Shad Thames to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth and put on the wristbands that show their position in line. Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla remove caption
switch to caption Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla
People line up along Shad Thames to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth and put on the wristbands that show their position in line.
Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla Her remains are located in Westminster Hall, a vast room with a lofty arched roof that has housed the core of Britain’s royal, legal, administrative, and current parliamentary systems for more than nine centuries.
Security personnel at the airport inspect passengers who are only allowed to have one bag on them. Then they walk down the old stone steps of the hall, which is about half a football field long and was constructed by Elizabeth’s ancestor only a generation after the Norman Conquest of Britain.
They are allowed to pause for a few seconds in a moment of reflection before moving on as they pass her oak casket, which is adorned with four towering candles and the predominantly yellow royal standard flag.
The throng are directed through the area by uniformed police officers and velvet rope lines; some of the mourning seem obviously moved. After passing the casket, one woman was seen standing up on the carpeted platform with her arms around a companion who was shaking and sobbing. A middle-aged man held his partner’s hand while carrying a knapsack over one shoulder and mopping his eye with a tissue in his hand.
After paying their respects to the late queen on Thursday, women leave the Westminster Palace. Photos by Sebastien Bozon/AFP/Getty remove caption
switch to caption Photos by Sebastien Bozon/AFP/Getty
After paying their respects to the late queen on Thursday, women leave the Westminster Palace.
Photos by Sebastien Bozon/AFP/Getty Officers from a British Army regiment called the household cavalry division—named for the royal household—and veterans from a more than 500-year-old yeoman of the guard group keep guard around the coffin with their heads down and spears and swords pointed downward and resting on the ground. A sense of medieval pomp and grandeur is added by the different plumed helmets, bearskin hats, and red, blue, and black outfits that are recognizable from Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London.
This stream of people now flows alongside sections of the River Thames, which moves slowly, and passes through a veritable tour route of London’s ancient sites.
This week, there were times when those waiting to pay their respects began as far away as the Globe Theater, where William Shakespeare’s plays were originally played in the late 16th century.
It went by Lambeth Palace, which was constructed when English kings continued to have the same title in France, and the Archbishop of Canterbury’s former London residence, which serves as the head of the Church of England. Before reaching the entrance to the older Westminster Hall, the line had snaked across Westminster Bridge, past Big Ben and the gothic beauty of the Palace of Westminster from the 19th century.