Tens of thousands of mourners spent hours queuing to see Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin on Thursday, with many reporting feeling the company and the jovial atmosphere.
Those wishing to pay their respects to the late monarch faced estimated waiting times of at least nine hours, as the Queen is currently resting at Westminster Hall in London.
As of Thursday afternoon, the line was about 4.2 miles (6.8 kilometers) long, meandering along the banks of the Thames all the way near Bermondsey Beach in Southwark, although it faded later in the evening.
“It was pretty cool,” said Kate Hearn, a senior reporter for Southwark News, who mixed with the crowds in Bermondsey earlier today. “Everyone seemed so friendly and happy to be there.”
“It wasn’t as sad as you might think, it was kind of fun,” he added.
While the demographics were more inclined towards the elderly, Herren told Euronews, many young people also shifted their respect for the king, which helped “create a sense of community”.
Heeren added that the Queen’s funeral had become a “national event”. “There is a feeling among people that they are participating in an event that happened once in an event of three or four generations.”
“People want to look back and say I was there,” he added.
There were so many mourners on Thursday morning that the UK government launched a live queue tracker online on Youtube, which shows waiting times and the location of the queue.
“The world has lost its mother”
Debbie Tebert, 58, was one of those who wanted to commemorate the Queen on Thursday.
Tippert, with her husband, son, and German exchange student who is currently staying with their family, set out from Wiltshire, southwest England, at 4:00 a.m., driving them three and a half hours to overcast London.
After standing in line for five and a half hours, which she said “wasn’t bad at all”, Tibert and his colleagues finally got a chance to “pay their respects”, as they formally appeared before Elizabeth II in Westminster Hall.
“she [the Queen] She was a special lady that we want to thank,” Tibert said, adding that she has “always loved” the royal family and hails from a line of royals.
In a long, winding line, Tippert said that everyone was “too talkative” and “together”, but as they climbed the stairs into the hall, a “gracious” silence prevailed.
“She was really beautiful,” she said. “None of us know her personally, but it seems like a personal loss [the Queen] She was always there in our lives, serving us, devoting her life to us, and it’s really hard not to see her around anymore.”
“My son told me he feels as if the world has lost his mother.”
Speaking to Euronews in the car on her way back from London, Tibert said the whole family was now very tired and looking forward to “getting up their feet”.
The event appeared to be well run throughout the day, with several hundred judges on hand to manage the crowds and ensure that no one entered.
Some of the governors were reported to have very long working hours, starting at 6:30 am and ending at 19:00 the same evening, although some on site were in high spirits.
Tibert said she was “optimistic” about the new monarch, King Charles III.
“I think it would be really good,” she said. “Well, I hope he’s been waiting in the wings for a long time.”
Born in 1948, King Charles, the Queen’s eldest son, was the United Kingdom’s longest-reigning monarch and had looked to the throne for decades before he was finally able to take it.
Buckingham Palace released details of the Queen’s funeral plans on Monday.
It will be the first state funeral to be held in the UK since the death of former Prime Minister and warlord Winston Churchill in 1965.
Kings and heads of state from around the world are expected to be among the 2,000 people attending Westminster Abbey’s funeral on Monday.
A smaller burial service was planned for later that day at Windsor Castle.
Queen Elizabeth II died on September 8 in Balmoral at the age of 96. It was the longest reigning monarchy in UK history, ruling for 70 years.