Queue grows to see Queen’s lying-in-state as coffin set to move to Westminster Hall – live updates | King Charles III

Queue for Queen’s lying in state could be 10 miles long

The queuing infrastructure for the Queen’s lying-in-state is 10 miles in length, it is understood.

This includes 6.9 miles from Victoria Tower Gardens to Southwark Park, with a further three miles inside Southwark Park.

It is understood that not everyone who makes the queue will be guaranteed to get to see the Queen’s lying-in-state.

To help avoid disappointment, entry to the back of the line may be closed early, to ensure as near as possible that those already waiting are able to file past the Queen’s coffin.

Entry to the queue will also be paused for a time if the queuing infrastructure cannot take any more people.

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Aubrey Allegretti

Colour- and number-coded wristbands have begun being handed out to the line of mourners already stretching to Westminster Bridge.

The 10-mile line will wind all the way back to Southwark Park, and include 3 miles of zig-zagging metal fences in the park.

When at capacity, the entrance to the queue will be shut. It will start to be wound down in anticipation of the 6:30am deadline for seeing the Queen’s lying-in-state, and organisers cannot guarantee everyone in it in those final hours will get to the front.

About 1,000 people will be on hand to help maintain the safety of those waiting in line for hours, with updates about the start of the queue and expected length shown on large screens along the route as well as on the social media feeds of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

At any one time, those marshalling the mourners will include: 779 professional stewards, 100 civil service volunteer marshals, 40 adult scouts, 30 members of first aid nursing Yeomanry, 10 Red Cross volunteers, 30 Multi-faith pastors, six Samaritans volunteers and two British Sign Language interpreters. Extra police and military personnel will also be on hand but no numbers have been given.

500 portable toilets have been installed along the route, too, with people handed colour- and number-coded wristbands to allow them to leave the queue to get food and drink then retake their spot.

When mourners make it to the front at Lambeth Bridge, they will be taken over in batches to Victoria Tower Gardens to be checked by security, told to turn all phones off and deposit large bags.

Once inside Westminster Hall, they will splinter in to two lines, filing past either side of the Queen’s coffin.

The queue will be self-policed in terms of speed, and there are no plans for queue-jumpers to be forcibly ejected.

An accessible queue, which there has never been before for such an event, starts at the Tate Britain. People will not be required to provide proof of their disability.

Organisers are optimistic the weather will not go south but are not planning to provide umbrellas or extra shelter – and those in the queue are encouraged to look after themselves.

Emine Sinmaz

Emine Sinmaz is in Westminster for the Guardian:

Amaya Valadez, who turns nine on Sunday, is missing a day of school to watch the procession from Westminster.

“I’m here to watch because she’s done a lot of things for us,” said the schoolgirl from Brixton, south London, as she waved a flag of the Queen.

Amaya said she felt sad when she heard the news of the Queen’s death. “It felt like ‘what?!’” Amaya exclaimed with wide eyes. “I was confused and sad because she’s been a Queen for 70 years. My mum cried and I cried a little bit.

“I think my first memory of her was seeing her on the tv and we also came for the platinum jubilee.”

Amaya Valadez (L) and her mother Adriana Valadez wait in Westminster
Amaya Valadez (L) and her mother Adriana Valadez wait in Westminster Photograph: Emine Sinmaz/The Guardian

Her mother, Adriana Valadez, who is originally from Mexico, added: “I am alone in the UK so in a way the Queen was like a grandma for me, she represented stability. I was very sad when she died and I’m expecting to feel emotional today so I have tissues. We were up at 6.30am to make sure we have a good place.”

The 48-year-old said she had taken her daughter out of school for the procession, adding: “I told the school we here to pay our respect to the Queen. Maybe Amaya can talk to her classmates about today when she’s back at school.”

There is growing controversy over the arrests or removal by police of people protesting against the monarchy near crowds paying their respects to Queen Elizabeth II. The Labour leader, Keir Starmer, this morning said that protesters should respect those mourning the Queen and not “ruin” their opportunity to say goodbye to the monarch. Here is the video clip.

Keir Starmer: people protesting against monarchy should do so ‘in the spirit of respect’ – video

The BBC has announced that it will be offering a dedicated live stream of the Queen’s lying-in-state, available on its website, red button interactive TV service and on the BBC Parliament channel. The stream will commence at 5pm this evening.

Queue for Queen’s lying in state could be 10 miles long

The queuing infrastructure for the Queen’s lying-in-state is 10 miles in length, it is understood.

This includes 6.9 miles from Victoria Tower Gardens to Southwark Park, with a further three miles inside Southwark Park.

It is understood that not everyone who makes the queue will be guaranteed to get to see the Queen’s lying-in-state.

To help avoid disappointment, entry to the back of the line may be closed early, to ensure as near as possible that those already waiting are able to file past the Queen’s coffin.

Entry to the queue will also be paused for a time if the queuing infrastructure cannot take any more people.

Emine Sinmaz

Opposite the Palace of Westminster, Rachel Quail, 44, cradled her three-month-old daughter Roberta, known as Bobby.

Rachel Quail, 44, cradled her three-month-old daughter Roberta, known as Bobby.
Rachel Quail, 44, cradled her three-month-old daughter Roberta, known as Bobby. Photograph: Emine Sinmaz/The Guardian

“I’m here to pay my respects to her majesty, I’ve been an avid follower for many years,” said Rachel, an NHS doctor from Sandy, Bedfordshire.

“I admire the care the Queen has given to the country and it will be something to tell Bobby in years to come.

It’s also a way to honour Charles but it’s mostly to pay tribute to the Queen. We came to the Queen mother’s lying-in-state and to all the jubilees and I want Bobby to experience it too.

I am an avid follower and I believe in the royal family’s dedication so Bobby will hear me talk about it and hopefully she’ll follow in my footsteps in being a fan.

I would love to do the lying state but the queue would be too much with a baby, but I’m still considering it.

I’m also coming back for the funeral on Monday so hopefully Bobby and I will find a good spot to watch the procession.

Thousands of police officers have been deployed in London for the Queen’s lying-in-state and for her funeral as millions of people are expected to pay their respects to the late monarch.

The security operation in the wake of the Queen’s death and surrounding her funeral is expected to be the biggest the UK has ever seen.

Police officers march along The Mall ahead of the procession to carry the body of Britain’s late Queen Elizabeth II from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall.
Police officers march along The Mall ahead of the procession to carry the body of Britain’s late Queen Elizabeth II from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall. Photograph: Tolga Akmen/EPA

Officers will guard the route when the Queen’s coffin is moved from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster this afternoon, and then for the state funeral at Westminster Abbey.

There will be uniformed police and plain clothes officers mingling with the crowd and reserves of the Territorial Support Group present.

In a statement, deputy assistant commissioner Stuart Cundy said:

We know there are some people who want to protest on a range of issues even at this time of national mourning. People have a right to freedom of expression and we must balance the rights of protesters with those of others who wish to grieve and reflect.

Police officers and the overall policing operation exists to keep people safe; as part of that work, police officers will approach and speak to people – please don’t be alarmed. They may also ask people to move if they are blocking access.

Geneva Abdul

With fallen leaves afoot and helicopters whirring overhead, throngs of people lined The Mall towards Buckingham Palace, patiently awaiting the procession of the late Queen’s lying in state this afternoon.

Gnanendra Dnanasegaran, 63, came from west London at 10.30am to watch the procession and be a part of history.

When asked about his relationship to the late Queen, Dnanasegaran, who was born in Chennai, India, and has lived in London for 40 years, replied:

I’m part of the Commonwealth country, she’s my only monarch.

“I didn’t want to miss this, this is once in a lifetime,” he said, sipping from a Red Bull can to stay more alert for when the procession passes.

He added that he respects King Charles, but said he feels he needs to be more of an example to others. “People expect more than what he is now,” he said.

The monarchy shouldn’t be abolished, added Dnanasegaran, who is Christian. “Throughout the history and the past they helped so many humans,” he said. “This is the greatest gift God gave to this country.”

Five million people followed the route of the Royal Air Force flight carrying the Queen’s coffin from Edinburgh to London on Tuesday, making it the most tracked flight in history, according to the website Flightradar24.

More than 4.79 million people watched on the flight tracking site and app with another 296,000 watching on a YouTube live stream, it said.

The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II arrives at Edinburgh Airport, Scotland.
The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II arrives at Edinburgh Aairport, Scotland. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/AP

Flightradar24 said 6 million people attempted to click on the flight on its website within a minute as the C-17 Globemaster aircraft prepared to take off on Tuesday. This caused “unprecedented strain”, according to the company, and caused the website to crash.

The plane carrying the Queen spent one hour and 12 minutes in flight. It landed at RAF Northolt, about six miles from Heathrow in west London. From Northolt, it was taken to Buckingham Palace.

The previous record was when 2.2 million people followed a flight carrying the US speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi, to Taiwan last month.

Emine Sinmaz

Sarah Barnes travelled from Leicestershire with her sister-in-law Carol Barnes, 66, and Carol’s daughter Clare Fell, 41. Draped in union jack flags, the trio pitched up on Whitehall around 6.30am.

“We left Leicestershire at 4.30am and we’re here to pay our final respects to the Queen,” said Sarah, 56, from Sutton in the Elms.

We all felt we wanted to be here and it didn’t matter how long it would take. We’re royal fans – we’ve been to the royal weddings, we’ve been to the jubilees, and we were on The Mall for the platinum jubilee and we were interviewed by the world but this is a different atmosphere.

It feels more sombre, more reflective and I don’t think it’s going to seem real until we see the hearse. Scotland have gone through it but we haven’t see that yet. It’s strange because we have to celebrate the king but we haven’t really mourned our Queen yet, but it’s all part of our wonderful history.

I was devastated when I heard the news about the Queen. Everybody knew she was getting old, but we saw her two days ago welcoming Liz Truss and she looked okay. You almost felt she’s immortal.

Clare said the atmosphere “definitely feels different” to the gaiety of the platinum jubilee, which made her unsure about wearing a flag. But Sarah said she was proud to have it tied around her waist.

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