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London mourners endure a 9-hour wait to bid the queen farewell

Thousands of mourners waited for hours Thursday in a line that stretched for almost 5 miles (8 kilometres) across London for the chance to spend a few minutes filing past Queen Elizabeth II‘s coffin while she lies in state. King Charles III spent the day in private reflecting on his first week on the throne. 

The queue to pay respects to the late queen at Westminster Hall in Parliament was at least a nine-hour wait, snaking across a bridge and along the south bank of the River Thames beyond Tower Bridge. But people said they didn’t mind the wait, and authorities brought in portable toilets and other facilities to make the slog bearable. 

“I’m glad there was a queue, because that gave us time to see what was ahead of us, prepared us and absorbed the whole atmosphere,” healthcare professional Nimisha Maroo said. “I wouldn’t have liked it if I’d had to just rush through.” 

A week after the queen died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland after 70 years on the throne, the focus of commemorations was on Westminster, the heart of political power in London. Her coffin will lie in state at Westminster Hall until Monday, when it will be taken across the street to Westminster Abbey for the queen’s funeral. 

Buckingham Palace on Thursday released details about the service, the first state funeral held in Britain since the death of former Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1965. Royalty and heads of state from around the world are expected to be among the 2,000 people attending, with a smaller burial service planned for later Monday at Windsor Castle. 

In a private family service at Windsor, the queen will be buried alongside her late husband, Prince Philip, who died last year. 

The guest list for the state funeral is a rollcall of global power and pomp, from Japan’s Emperor Naruhito and King Felipe VI of Spain to U.S. President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron and the prime ministers of Canada, Australia and New Zealand. 

He made the remarks during a special session of the Canadian parliament in Ottawa.

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