Thousands of people passed, incessantly and patiently, during the early hours of Thursday in London in front of the coffin of Elizabeth II, the only queen that many have known in the United Kingdom and a figure who enjoyed the rare privilege of almost unanimous affection in your country.
“We owe it to the queen to have been here all our lives,” said Andrew Clyde, 53, a Northern Irishman who traveled from Belfast to London to visit the monarch’s chapel, which will be open to the public until dawn on Monday. September 19.
Elizabeth II died last Thursday, September 8, at the age of 96, after seven decades of reign. The coffin with the monarch’s body was taken to Westminster Hall, the oldest area of Parliament, a majestic 11th century room that is the institutional birthplace of the United Kingdom.
The subjects waited in a queue for several kilometers for hours, with only what was possible to carry food and water in a small bag, due to the strict security controls at the entrance of Parliament.
“It’s the least we can do,” said Adam Armendáriz, director of sales for a company in London, alongside several colleagues.
The weather should help, with the forecast of sunny weather for the next few days.
Carmen Martínez, a Colombian lawyer who is married to a British man and is seven months pregnant with their first child, said it felt good to participate in the mourning.
“She represents everything for the country. She is like everyone’s grandmother,” Martínez said.
– Up to 30 hours of standby time –
During the next five days, hundreds of thousands of Britons and foreigners, a number that could reach 750,000 according to the press, will pass through the place, which will remain open until the early hours of September 19, when the state funeral will take place at the Abbey of Westminster and burial in the George VI Chapel at Windsor Castle.
The government has warned that the wait can be as long as 30 hours in a line of up to 10 kilometers, which crosses the city center along the River Thames.
“Please take this into consideration before deciding to attend or bring children,” warned Downing Street.
More than 100 heads of state and government and other personalities are expected to attend the “funeral of the century”, such as the American president, Joe Biden, the Brazilian Jair Bolsonaro, the King of Spain, Felipe VI, and the Emperor of Japan, Naruhito.
The burial of the sovereign who knew 15 prime ministers – the first, Winston Churchill, born in 1874 and the current, Liz Truss, born in 1975 – will take place on the same day at Windsor Castle in a private ceremony.
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