Mours who wish to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II who died last week aged 96, will be able to do so from Wednesday as she lies in state. Her coffin will make its final journey today from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster to her funeral at Westminster Abbey on Monday 19 September.
The royal procession marks one of the last in a series of solemn ceremonies that have taken place since the Queen’s death. Her casket which will be transported with a horse-drawn carriage flanked by King Charles III and other members of the royal family, will begin at Buckingham Palace at 14:22 local time and will continue for half a mile down the flag-lined Mall, across Horse Guards Parade and down Whitehall until it reaches the Palace of Westminster. The procession will be followed by a short service led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, after which Westminster Hall will be open to the public for viewing 24 hours a day for four days until 6.30am on the morning of her funeral.
The last time Britain had someone lie to the state — a formal tradition in which a closed casket is placed so members of the public can pay their respects – was for Queen Elizabeth II’s mother, also called Queen Elizabeth, in 2001. Then, as now, visitors must pass through security like at the airport and are only allowed to carry one small bag. It is believed that some 200,000 people paid their respects to the Queen Mother as she lay in honour. For Queen Elizabeth II, the British authorities expect closer to 1 million.
Mourners have already been warned that they can wait that much longer 30 hours in line stretching a few miles yearning to pay their respects to the late queen. Although there will be volunteers, first aid stations and toilets along the route, government guidelines warned that mourners “will have to stand for many hours, possibly all night, with very little opportunity to sit down as the queue will continue to move”.
The influx of people is already being felt all over London, where way and subway closures have been announced in the areas near which the procession will take place. Already encountered overcrowding Transport for London, which runs the London Underground, has warned it is facing the biggest challenge in its history. The British government has advised travelers to avoid visiting the capital if they can.
However, many Britons are undeterred, with some joining the line a few days in advance to participate in what they consider a once-in-a-lifetime event.
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