Queen queue reopens but now the wait is 24 HOURS

Queen queue reopens but now the wait is 24 HOURS

Queen queue reopens but now the wait is 24 HOURS: Mourners have to battle through THREE lines to pay their respects to monarch’s coffin in Westminster Hall

  • Mourners entering Westminster Hall in London are now in two lines each side of Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin
  • Queue dubbed ‘Elizabeth line’ was shut for at least six hours from 10am amid huge surge in demand 
  • People hoping to get in were being held in a holding area at Southwark Park to alleviate congestion up ahead
  • There was also a third queue outside the park as people waited to be allowed in to go into the holding area 
  • The Queen’s funeral: All the latest Royal Family news and coverage

The queue to see the Queen’s coffin at Westminster Hall has reopened after being closed this morning – with a 24 hour wait time. 

In extraordinary scenes, tens of thousands of people descended on Southwark Park to enter the start of the main line for the lying in state, but officials had to shut it at 10am for ‘at least six hours’ because it was too long. 

Now, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has announced people will be able to join the queue again, but warned they could wait for 24 hours for a chance to see Her Majesty lie in state.

Officials said the queue could be closed again if it reaches capacity. They also warned waiting mourners temperatures would be cold overnight. 

A sign on an electric board told those who had already spent four hours queuing in the park and were about to head out into Bermondsey that they still had another 14 hours to go. Some cheered ironically as they passed the sign.

Despite the relaxed atmosphere, line marshals and high-vis security are preparing for another possible spike in numbers later this evening with people pouring in after work hoping the queue will be quieter late at night.

One member of the security team said: ‘We have supervisors all down the line and they are radioing ahead if there are any problems. If we have to close the gates and direct people towards a holding place to prevent overcrowding then we will. But so far it’s calm and there’s no issues.’

The queue is expected to peak over the weekend with people off work and Monday a Bank Holiday for the state funeral.

A cut-off point when mourners will be prevented from joining the queue is expected to be enforced after midnight on Sunday.

This morning, thousands of mourners were put in a holding area to alleviate congestion in the line ahead, which stretched for about five miles. The gates to the park were then shut, and people outside had to form a third line in a desperate attempt to see the coffin before 6.30am on Monday when the lying in state will finish.

It came as David Beckham made it inside Westminster Hall at about 3.30pm today after joining the queue at 2am.

Meanwhile some people are trying to cash in by selling used wristbands for up to £350 on eBay. Those joining the queue receive wristbands to mark their place – so they can leave for a drink, or to go to the toilet, and then return.

MPs can jump the queue and bring in up to four guests, to the anger of those being forced to wait. Among those visiting yesterday were Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg and Shadow Deputy Prime Minister Angela Rayner. 

This Morning hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby cut sombre figures as they were seen at Westminster Hall today. MailOnline was told the TV duo joined a separate queue for press and were taken into a press gallery.

Downing Street said the queue system to view the Queen’s lying in state was going to plan. 

Ex-England captain Beckham was spotted queueing at about 12.30pm today, after joining the line at 2am to wait with everyone else. His representative confirmed to MailOnline that he had queued with the public, and said those around him initially did not take pictures of the 47-year-old star because there was an air of ‘mutual respect’.

MAIN QUEUE – Well-wishers stand in the main queue at Southwark Park today to see the lying in state of Queen Elizabeth II

SECOND QUEUE – A holding pen which is forming the queue to get in the queue at Southwark Park in London this afternoon

THIRD QUEUE – People wait outside the gates of Southwark Park this afternoon just so they can get into the holding pen

Mourners queue in Southwark Park today to view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II who is lying in state at Westminster Hall

Well-wishers stand in the queue in Southwark Park for the lying in state of Queen Elizabeth II in London this afternoon

David Beckham wipes his eye while waiting to see the Queen’s coffin at Westminster Hall in London this afternoon


Former England footballer David Beckham waits to see the Queen’s coffin at Westminster Hall in London this afternoon

David Beckham said he feels ‘lucky’ to have spent time with the Queen while queueing to pay tribute this afternoon

David Beckham (centre, in flat cap) is among those seen in the queue to get into Westminster Hall this morning


David Beckham is among those seen in the queue to get into Westminster Hall this morning


Beckham said: ‘Everybody wants to be here to be part of this experience and to celebrate what Her Majesty has done for us’

David Beckham was pictured queueing at about 12.30pm today, amid reports the England football legend had joined at 2am


MPs can jump the queue and bring in up to four guests, to the anger of those being forced to wait. Among those visiting yesterday were Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg (left) and Shadow Deputy Prime Minister Angela Rayner (right) 

Paying respects: Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby cut sombre figures today as they were pictured at Westminster Hall

People at Southwark Park join the holding area before queue to see the Queen’s lying in state today

Inside the park, a crowd formed in the holding pen next to the main queue as people begged to be let in. Security teams were allowing 100 people at a time from the holding area to join the main queue every ten to 15 minutes.

But outside the park, some people waited in the street with no idea of when they might be able to even join the queue.

The Government said in an update just before 10am: ‘Southwark Park has reached capacity. Entry will be paused for at least 6 hours. We are sorry for any inconvenience. Please do not attempt to join the queue until it re-opens.’

Just after 12pm, the Government also said the accessible queue was now ‘at capacity for today and entry for allocation of wristbands is currently paused’, adding that those with wristbands and entry times will still get in. 

But then at 1pm, the entrance to Southwark Park reopened despite the Government still saying that the queue has been paused. The gates were originally shut as queue attendants sought to deter new arrivals. However a second queue quickly began to form outside the park along Jamaica Road, leading attendants to reopen the gate. 

A Number 10 spokesman directed questions to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, but said it was ‘the case that what DCMS have done is they’ve temporarily paused the queue for at least six hours after it reached maximum capacity.

‘That has always been part of our planning and that is to make sure as many as people as possible in the queue can enter the Palace of Westminster. But we keep it under review and there will be further updates from DCMS.’

The spokesman would not state what number of people represented ‘maximum capacity’ for the queue.

As Beckham approached Westminster Hall, he told Sky News: ‘This day was always going to be a difficult day. Our thoughts are with the family, it’s very special to hear all of the stories from people here. The most special moment for me was to receive my OBE. I took my grandparents with me who were huge royalists. I was so lucky that I was able to have a few moments like that in my life to be around Her Majesty. It’s a sad day, but a day to remember.’

Beckham added that it ‘meant so much’ to sing the National Anthem before England matches, and told ITV News: ‘I thought by coming at 2am it was going to be a little bit quieter, but I was wrong, everybody had that in mind. But the people here, all ages, there was an 84-year-old lady walking around, a 90-year-old gentleman walking around. Everybody wants to be here to be part of this experience and to celebrate what Her Majesty has done for us.’ 

Images shared on Twitter this afternoon showed many people trying to capture a picture of Beckham as he waited at the front of the line. Twitter user Jules Birkby from Leeds said Beckham was ‘just a few lines behind us in the snake’. Ms Birkby, who was queueing with her mother, tweeted: ‘The Queue is now full of people trying to photograph David Beckham and forgetting to actually move onwards. It’s madness! I feel a bit sorry for him, but he’s taking it very well. It’s made me almost forget that we’ve been in The Queue almost TWELVE HOURS though.’

A fellow mourner said: ‘He was chatting happily to people around him about the times he met the Queen. I think we were all stunned to see him here given how famous he is. He had his cap pulled down so I think he was trying to keep a low profile.  I didn’t recognise him straight away but he was a lovely bloke, happy to talk. Clearly he was in the queue for some time, perhaps since the early hours like myself. He was obviously keen to pay his respects to the Queen and felt he should join the rest of us rather than use the VIP line which goes down much quicker.’

While some questioned whether Beckham had actually been queuing up, one woman tweeted: ‘My friend’s mum says he joined the queue at about 2am. He’s bought the people around him donuts! The guys a ledge.’

It comes as figures from the London Ambulance Service (LAS) show that 435 members of the public have been treated along the route of the queue to see the Queen lying in state and surrounding areas over the past two days.

Some 291 people along the route of the line and nearby in London were given medical assistance on Wednesday, with 17 needing hospital treatment. A further 144 people were treated yesterday, with 25 people being taken to hospital. The LAS said the majority of incidents attended were faints and collapses, resulting in head injuries.

Initially there was confusion around the closure of the queue at Southwark Park. Thousands of mourners were still filing through the gate at 11am, despite instructions from the Government that the queue was paused until 4pm.

A sign in Bermondsey today informing people that the queue for the Queen’s lying in state is temporarily paused

Queuing for the lying in state of Queen Elizabeth II this morning at Southwark Park in London

Eventually, a sign at the entrance to Southwark Park was changed to announce that the queue had been paused. The sign originally said: ‘Lying in state queue: please expect long delays, thank you for your patience.’

The sign then changed at around 11.35am to ‘Entry to Her Majesty’s lying in state queue is temporarily paused. Lying in state queue wait time from this point minimum 14 hours.’

Officials then began stopping people from entering the queue for the lying in state. An official said: ‘The entrance to the queue has been closed.’ But a crowd formed around the entrance as people begged to be let in.

Fury at the decision to shut the queue was led by Neil Coyle, independent MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark, where the line is running to. He said today: ‘This is unworkable – people have travelled overnight to join the queue. 

‘I’m asking for extra resources to help ensure everyone can pay their respects. Ministers need to step up to ensure all those who have foreseeably travelled and my local community do not face severe disruption.’

As some people were allowed to enter after 10am despite the Government saying the line was shut, one couple who travelled from Manchester at 7.30am told the Telegraph that the whole thing was a ‘complete shambles’. 

One of those who was waiting in the holding line was Terrence Houlahan, 56, who had ridden his Penny Farthing bike down to the park in Bermondsey from his home in Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, some 40 miles north.

Gates at the entrance to Southwark Park are temporary closed to limit the number of people who can get in

Queuing for the lying in state of Queen Elizabeth II this morning at Southwark Park in London

Gates at the entrance to Southwark Park are temporary closed to limit the number of people who can get in

Mourners queue in Southwark Park today to view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II who is lying in state at Westminster Hall

People stand by the gates at the entrance to Southwark Park which are temporary closed to limit the number of people

People are now queuing to see the Queen’s lying-in-state at Westminster Hall until Monday, on the route shown above


People queue near London Bridge to pay their respects to late Queen Elizabeth II this morning

Mourners queue in Southwark Park today to view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II who is lying in state at Westminster Hall

Mourners queue in Southwark Park today to view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II who is lying in state at Westminster Hall

Mourners queue in Southwark Park today to view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II who is lying in state at Westminster Hall

Mourners queue in Southwark Park today to view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II who is lying in state at Westminster Hall

Mourners queue in Southwark Park today to view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II who is lying in state at Westminster Hall

https://youtube.com/watch?v=cJxDwDzAwEs%3Frel%3D0%26showinfo%3D1%26start%3D0%26hl%3Den-US

Mr Houlahan, who is originally from New York but has lived in the UK for 20 years, said: ‘It took me three hours to get here. In fact, a little longer as I first went to London Bridge by mistake thinking the queue started there.

‘So I’ve ridden all the way just to stand in line for 15 to 20 hours pushing my Penny Farthing along before cycling back another three hours in the dark. It sounds crazy but I wanted to be here and honour the Queen as well as show my support for the new King, Charles III.

Now mourners sell used wristbands for up to £350

Some people have been cashing in on the Queen’s lying in state by selling used wristbands for up to £350.

Those joining the queue receive coloured wristbands to mark their place – so they can leave for a drink, or to go to the toilet, and then return.

But it appears that some mourners have seen the system as an opportunity to make some cash by selling the wristbands as souvenirs on eBay. 

One person has listed an orange wristband, which features the abbreviation LISQ (Lying In State Queue), with an asking price of £350.

Small print on the paper band specifies that it does not guarantee entry and is strictly non-transferable. But in the description the seller has listed it as ‘brand new’ and ‘never been used’.

Another seller has listed a similar wristband for £100, while a third person is selling a yellow band – plus a bundle of commemorative newspapers – for £122. A fourth seller has put their ripped green band on the site for £100.

The item was accompanied by the description: ‘Previously used or worn orange wristband from the first 24 hours of the Queen Laying-In-State in Westminster Hall. This wristband gained entry to the original wearer to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth.

‘This is a piece of history. A small piece yet still a piece of history and this is your chance to own it if you did not have the chance to come yourself.

‘The queue to pay respects to the Queen Lying-In-State may be London’s longest. It took 7-8 hours from joining the queue to finally pay respects to the late Queen.’

The seller said they were happy to send the item internationally but specified that it was being sold as ‘historical memorabilia only.’

They stressed that 50 per cent of the final profit will be donated to the British Red Cross which Queen Elizabeth was the longest serving patron of.

Another person is trying to flog their orange wristband for the slightly lower price of £82.

The cheapest band currently listed on the site is up for grabs for £10.

The seller promised to donate 20 per cent of the final price to The Dogs Trust to reflect the Queen’s love of animals.

Official guidance published by the government states: ‘When you reach the back of the queue, you will be given a coloured and numbered wristband.

‘This is a record of when you joined the queue, however please note that having a wristband does not guarantee your entry to the Lying-in-State.

‘Wristbands are specific to each person joining the queue, and are strictly non-transferable. You must keep this wristband on at all times as it will be checked along the route.

‘Your wristband also allows you to leave the queue for a short period to use a toilet or get refreshments, then return to your place in the queue.’

‘Charles has to put on a public show now in his new role and that must be busting him up inside. Most of us get to grieve privately. This is as much to show him solidarity as it is to pay tribute to the Queen.’

Mr Houlahan said he was going to leave his Penny Farthing outside Westminster Hall before heading inside. He said: ‘I don’t need to chain it up or anything because hardly anyone knows how to ride it.

‘But I race these bikes so I guess it’s also a good bit of training whilst also taking in a really important, historic moment. Something that is way bigger than myself or any individual.’

Moses Martinez, meanwhile, flew into London Heathrow Airport from Nicaragua this morning especially to join the queue of mourners.

The 32-year-old booked his flight as soon as heard news of the Queen’s death and has spent nearly £2,000 on flights and a hotel in London.

Mr Martinez, who lives in Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, said: ‘I had to be here in London. I’ve never been here before, never been to the UK before.

‘But when I heard the Queen had died and seeing thousands of British people queue to see her lie in state, I knew now was the time that I had to go.

‘I flew in at 7am this morning after a 12-hour flight, dropped my bags in the hotel and came straight to this queue. I know I could be in line for as many as 20 hours but I don’t care, I don’t need sleep, I just want to pay my respects.

‘She meant so much to me, ever since I was a small boy. She was a symbol of Britain. I’ve paid a lot of money and it’s a lot of travelling but for me it’s worth all of it. People are very friendly and polite.

‘It’s a once in a lifetime experience, I thought to myself ‘it’s now or never’ as I won’t ever be able to do this again. I’m so glad I made the journey.’

Shannon Baird, 28, hopped on a flight from Dublin just to join the queue and will return straight after seeing the Queen’s coffin.

She lives in Pennsylvania in the US but is spending a few months in Ireland and said: ‘Once I’m done, I’m back on a flight at 9pm tomorrow. This is a moment in history and I had to be a part of it. I know it’s going to be tough but I’m prepared for it. She’s an iconic figure.’

Barrie Scott, 72, from East Moseley, said: ‘We’ve been in this secondary queue for 45 minutes so it’s a bit frustrating that we haven’t even joined the proper line yet.

‘But hopefully we’ll be through soon. It is moving still, people are being let through, we’ve not been turned away or anything like that.

‘I know it’s going to be a long, long day but then the Queen was on the throne for 70 years showing such service and dedication.

‘Compared to that, 15 or even 20 hours or however long it takes doesn’t seem too bad to say thank you and pay my respects.’

Karen Hare, 59, from Upminster, Essex, said: ‘We’ve been joking that we’re queuing up for the queue! As if that isn’t already long enough! ‘I’m annoyed at my husband because I wanted to leave the house at 3am and he talked me out of it only to change his mind at 9am.

‘If it wasn’t for him we’d be in the main queue by now. It’s not ideal but there’s thousands and thousands of people who want to pay their respects. That’s what the Queen means to people, she felt like part of your family.

‘I felt I had to come down today, I felt a sense of service to thank her for all the fantastic things she did for the country. We’ll never get this opportunity again and I knew if I didn’t come, I’d have regretted it all my life.’

On the third day of the Queen’s lying in state, those stood in the queue which hugged the south bank of the River Thames were told the wait time had swelled to ‘at least 14 hours’ and 4.9 miles to Southwark Park in Bermondsey.

Helena Larsen, 76, of Chertsey, just missed out on entry. ‘We have literally got here and they have shut it in front of us,’ she said. She said she will wait around for entry to the queue to reopen, adding: ‘I don’t know what else to do. 

‘There are no other access points. I probably will wait around. I do think because there’s just a handful of us we should be let in. I fractured my back a few months ago, it’s a long walk even down to here.’

Mourners queue in Southwark Park today to view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II who is lying in state at Westminster Hall

Members of the public continue to wait in line to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II this morning

Mourners queue this morning to view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II who is lying in state at Westminster Hall 

 Mourners queue in Southwark Park today to view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II who is lying in state at Westminster Hall

Mourners queue this morning to view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II who is lying in state at Westminster Hall

Mourners queue in Southwark Park today to view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II who is lying in state at Westminster Hall

Mourners queue this morning to view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II who is lying in state at Westminster Hall

Mourners queue this morning to view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II who is lying in state at Westminster Hall

Mourners queue this morning to view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II who is lying in state at Westminster Hall

Mourners queue this morning to view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II who is lying in state at Westminster Hall

Mourners queue this morning to view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II who is lying in state at Westminster Hall

Mourners queue this morning to view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II who is lying in state at Westminster Hall

Mourners queue this morning to view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II who is lying in state at Westminster Hall

Mourners queue in Southwark Park today to view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II who is lying in state at Westminster Hall

Mourners queue in Southwark Park today to view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II who is lying in state at Westminster Hall

Mourners queue this morning to view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II who is lying in state at Westminster Hall

The Government had warned at 9am, an hour before the queue was closed: ‘If the park reaches capacity, entry to the queue will be paused. If you have not yet set off to join, please consider waiting until numbers have reduced.’ 

Queen’s lying in state: What you need to know 

The Queen is lying in state in London ahead of her funeral. Here is some of the information mourners need to know.

– What exactly is meant by the term ‘lying in state’?

Lying in state is usually reserved for sovereigns, current or past queen consorts, and sometimes former prime ministers.

During the formal occasion, the closed coffin is placed on view, as thousands of people queue to file past and pay their respects.

The coffin will be adorned with the Imperial State Crown, the Orb and the Sceptre.

– When and where will the Queen lie in state?

The late monarch’s lying in state in Westminster Hall opened to the public at 5pm yesterday and it will be open 24 hours a day until it closes at 6.30am on Monday, September 19 – the day of the Queen’s funeral.

– Where is Westminster Hall?

Westminster Hall, which dates back to 1099, is in the Palace of Westminster and is the oldest building on the parliamentary estate.

It forms part of the Westminster Unesco World Heritage Site and the UK Parliament website refers to its ‘great size’, the ‘magnificence’ of its roof, and its central role in British history.

The building has been the site of key events, such as the trial of Charles I, coronation banquets, and addresses by world leaders.

– Is there a big queue?

Yes. Government guidance says there will be a queue which is expected to be very long, predicted to be in the tens of thousands. 

As it stands the queue is about 14 hours long.

People will need to stand for ‘many hours, possibly overnight’, with very little opportunity to sit down as the queue will be continuously moving.

People are not allowed to camp and a wristband system is being used to manage the queue, with those waiting in line given a coloured and numbered one, specific to each person, allowing them to leave for a short period.

‘Your wristband also allows you to leave the queue for a short period to use a toilet or get refreshments, then return to your place in the queue,’ according to the official guidance.

– What is the queue route?

Members of the public can join the line on the Albert Embankment, which runs behind the London Eye onto the Southbank before following the river past landmarks such as the National Theatre, the Tate Modern and HMS Belfast, reaching ‘maximum capacity’ at Southwark Park.

– Is there assistance for people who cannot queue for long periods of time?

The main queue has step-free access with a separate accessible route also planned to run from Tate Britain where timed entry slots will be issued for a queue going along Millbank to the Palace of Westminster.

Guide dogs will be allowed inside Westminster Hall, with sign language interpreters also on hand.

Venues including the Southbank Centre, the National Theatre and Shakespeare’s Globe will open for longer hours to accommodate those queuing. The British Film Institute on the Southbank will do the same while providing an outdoor screen with archive footage of the Queen.

Asked where entry to the queue would pause from, a spokesman for the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in the park said: ‘I’m not going to speculate at the moment – it’s too early for that.’

The spokesman said the announcement about the pause has ‘trickled down’, adding: ‘We informed TfL (Transport for London), the transport people, first to let people find out before they reach this point.’

He added that announcements are being made in Tube stations and on display boards. ‘We are trying to move people as fast as we can; just bear with us about some of the finer questions about the ground level.’

The special treatment of MPs was condemned earlier this week by some of the thousands waiting in line for their brief chance to pay their respects.

Julie Newman, 56, said: ‘It is an abuse of privilege. I don’t mind queuing, because everybody queues. But there is no excuse for queue-jumping, it’s not fair.’ Dexter Bowls, 20, added: ‘For something like this, it is not fair. They’re not going to work at this time.’

And the line for people to go through Westminster Hall has now been doubled to two lines each side of Her Majesty’s casket amid concerns over delays.

Since the early hours of yesterday morning, officials have directed mourners to form two columns either side of the late Queen’s coffin, adorned with the Imperial Crown, so twice as many people can pay their respects at once.

The huge volume of people wanting to say farewell to Her Majesty led to the decision to double the rate of flow, ensuring as many who wished to pay their respects were able.

The queue – which people have been joining since Monday and which opened on Wednesday at 5pm – is now taking mourners more than half a day to complete but many have been saying the long wait was worth it.

Mourners said there was ‘breathtaking’ serenity awaiting them in Westminster Hall where ‘you could hear a pin drop’ in the silence.

But security jobsworths had a field day as they took hand sanitiser and boiled sweets from elderly mourners queuing.

Stewards in hi-vis were accused of being overzealous as they cracked down on what could and could not be brought into Westminster Hall. Mourners also described brazen pushing-in towards the back of the line as young people took advantage of spaces left by slow elderly people in the queue.

Officials have enforced airport-style security as the public enter the Palace of Westminster. One mourner was forced to hand over a single Werther’s Original, lipstick and hand sanitiser, while others told of various items being confiscated.

Matthew, 39, said: ‘I was told to throw away my little bottle of glasses cleaner, you’d just never have even thought of it.’ He was also made to empty the liquid out of his electronic cigarette.

His mother Glennis, 72, had her mini-toothpaste, deodorant and face cream taken away. ‘I won’t look so fresh-faced tomorrow,’ she said.

Jane, 53, had a confrontation with the stewards after they demanded she hand over her perfume bottle.

‘They told me to throw away my Chanel No 5 but I begged and begged. I nearly cried,’ she said. ‘They wanted my make-up too but I hid it.’

While some could not be without their perfume or snacks, it was revealed that others couldn’t part from their pets.

A Parliamentary source told the Daily Mail that officials have stopped six mourners from entering Westminster Hall after they were caught trying to smuggle in their pet dogs hidden under coats.

As of 11.30pm last night, the queue was 4.9 miles long, drifting back as far as Southwark Park in Bermondsey, with an estimated wait time of nine hours.

A little over two hours later, the wait time had jumped to 14 hours, although the mileage of the queue remained the same.

The queue for members of the public to see the Queen’s lying-in-state goes past Tower Bridge in London this morning

People queue across the River Thames from the Houses of Parliament to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II this morning 

People queue inside Westminster Hall to see the Queen’s lying in state in the early hours of this morning

People queue to pay their respects at Westminster Hall in London this morning following the death of Queen Elizabeth II

A man stands as people queue to pay their respects to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II this morning

The queue for members of the public to see the Queen’s lying-in-state goes past Tower Bridge in London this morning

People queue to pay their respects at Westminster Hall in London this morning following the death of Queen Elizabeth II 

People queue across the River Thames from the Houses of Parliament to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II this morning

People queue to pay their respects at Westminster Hall in London this morning following the death of Queen Elizabeth II

By 5.30am this morning, it was once again at nine hours with the actual length shrinking to 3.6 miles.

But by 7am it had gone up to 11 hours and 4.4 miles. 

And by 9am it was at 14 hours and 4.9 miles. 

The closest landmark for the end of the queue changed from Tower Bridge to Bermondsey Beach, and then to Southwark Park. 

For most of the night, the line was nearly five miles in length with Southwark listed as the nearest landmark, according to the Queue Tracker.

Nurse Melanie Pickman, 50, left her home in Swansea at 11am to join the back of the queue just before 3pm.

The mother-of-three said: ‘My sons think I’m mad because I have come to London to stand in a queue which some people say could be 30 hours long.

‘Last night I thought about it and I made the decision to come first thing this morning. I just thought that I needed to come.

‘We will never see this again. She served our country for such a long time. We owe it to her to show our respect.

‘Look at all these people who have shown up to queue – she has made them happy.

‘She may be the Queen but she is also somebody’s mum, aunty and granny. I just think she is part of us as well. We have been lucky to have her.’

There was a tinge of sadness, overwhelming amounts of respect and lots of good-natured chatter as strangers quickly built friendships with those walking beside them for much of the day.

It was surprisingly also not overly noisy despite thousands of people, ranging from the elderly to babies in arms, joining the growing crowd.

Bonuses included mild temperatures in the early 20Cs, the rain holding off and a route which passed landmarks including the Globe Theatre and Tate Modern.

Firefighters were seen handing out bottles of water, volunteers from the Samaritans were available and there was a noticeable presence of stewards, police and portable toilets along the route.

Mary Buttimer, 59 from Greenwich, and Martin Clark, 65, from Kent, have become firm friends in the queue.

Standing near London Bridge station, the pair had been in the queue for an hour and a half.

Ms Buttimer said she had joined the queue to pay her respects to the Queen.

‘I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m a royalist, but I just thought it was a respectful thing I could do, to acknowledge her years of service,’ she said.

Martin said they had started near Bermondsey station. ‘We are in, we have got to see it through now,’ he said.

The UK chief commissioner of the Scouts said the mood among the crowds waiting to pay their respects was ‘friendly and poignant’.

Carl Hankinson, who is among volunteers to monitor the queue throughout Victoria Gardens, said Scouts had been ‘on their feet 12 hours’ a day to help ensure the smooth running of admissions.

The Scout, who once met the Queen at a garden party, said: ‘She was fantastic in every way – she was interested in Scouts, she was conversational, very encouraging and very supportive of young people.’

People queue across the River Thames from the Houses of Parliament to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II this morning

People queue across the River Thames from the Houses of Parliament to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II this morning

The queue for members of the public to see the Queen’s lying-in-state goes past Tower Bridge in London this morning

People queue to pay their respects at Westminster Hall in London this morning following the death of Queen Elizabeth II

People queue across the River Thames from the Houses of Parliament to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II this morning

People queue across the River Thames from the Houses of Parliament to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II this morning

The queue for members of the public to see the Queen’s lying-in-state goes past Tower Bridge in London this morning

Marc Carney, 58, filed past the Queen’s coffin at 6.40pm after travelling from his home in Hythe, Kent, on Thursday morning.

The moment he got to say his personal goodbye left him ‘struck by the realism’ of everything that is happening.

He said: ‘It hits you how moving it all us and how much love and support there’s for the Queen.’

Mr Carney joined the queue at about 11.30am and said ‘it had been difficult to find the end of it because the line kept on growing as I was walking towards it’.

He added: ‘It was so rewarding and peaceful in lots of ways. You also got to see London under a different cloud.

‘It was worth it making that long journey. It makes you focus on what you are here for.’

Earlier, three well-wishers who befriended each other in the queue said there had been a friendly ‘camaraderie’ among the crowd.

Amy Harris, 34, and Matthew Edwards, 35, met James Cross, 65, after getting the train to London from Birmingham to join the queue at about 1am.

People queue to pay their respects at Westminster Hall in London this morning following the death of Queen Elizabeth II

The queue for members of the public to see the Queen’s lying-in-state goes past Tower Bridge in London this morning

People queue to pay their respects at Westminster Hall in London this morning following the death of Queen Elizabeth II

People queue to pay their respects at Westminster Hall in London this morning following the death of Queen Elizabeth II

People queue across the River Thames from the Houses of Parliament to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II this morning

People queue in the early hours of this morning to visit Westminster Palace where the Queen’s coffin is lying in state

People queue overnight to visit Westminster Hall where the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II is lying in state

People queue in the early hours of this morning to visit Westminster Palace where the Queen’s coffin is lying in state

SINGLE LINES: The first members of the public pay their respects as the vigil begins around the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II as it Lies in State inside Westminster Hall, at the Palace of Westminster on Wednesday evening

DOUBLE LINES: Members of the public yesterday were split into four queues, two either side of the Queen’s coffin (split shown with red arrows), to speed up the flow of mourners after concerns over too few being able to pay their respects to the late monarch before her funeral on Monday

Mr Cross said: ‘Everyone in the queue was very friendly, chatting and having a laugh. It was really quite lovely.’

Mr Edwards said: ‘Everyone was offering biscuits, drinks,’ adding that the three were now planning to have a pint together after the long wait.

The atmosphere in Westminster Hall was ‘breathtaking,’ Ms Harris said. 

‘When you’re able to go in and have a moment to look at it and reflect, the serenity of it – to be able to pay your respects in such a serene place, it’s very peaceful.’

Fiona Holloran, 34, wept as she left Westminster Hall after paying her respects to the Queen.

The Londoner said: ‘It was very moving to see the vigil around her – I was a little bit surprised at how much it struck me.’

The PhD student, who queued since 6.30am with her baby strapped to her in a carrier, said the wait had been ‘worth it’.

‘It’s lovely that everyone has just a moment to themselves – no one was pushing.’

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