It’s a moment Britain has been preparing for years. Several official agencies were brought together. Precise plans were made secretly. Complex logistics technical aspects have been settled. The route was carefully planned.
Nor could the population of any country be more prepared for this.
We are talking, of course, about the waiting list that the British must join in order to be respected Queen Elizabeth II. This is no ordinary mistake. It has taken on a symbolic meaning, a ritual to be performed, the embodiment of the national mood. It’s short Queue.
It’s a serpent from Westminster Hall, where the body of the late King in the state lies, for miles along the south bank of the Thames. It spans past landmarks like the London Eye (constructed at the turn of the millennium), the Royal Festival Hall (opened in 1951, a year before Princess Elizabeth ascended the throne) and the Globe Theater (a throwback to Elizabeth’s earlier era). Plans were made for it to be nine miles or 14.5 kilometers long.
May not be as fast moving as other method Moving from one end of London to another, But they share a nickname – Elizabeth Line.
In quintessentially British fashion, an orderly line began to form outside the Palace of Westminster as soon as it was announced that the late King would be lying in Westminster Hall on Monday – two days before the hall doors opened to the public.
By Wednesday afternoon, The Queue was official, and all the amenities planned had appeared. Portable latrines, water fountains and first aid stations were distributed along the road and a sack of bags was placed in front.
The queue passes through Lambeth Palace, the official residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, the most senior clergyman in the Church of England, of which the British monarch was the supreme ruler. The current incumbent, Justin Welby, came to bring a personal blessing to The Queue and all who were waiting for it on Wednesday, hoping they would stay warm and enjoy each other’s company.
Each mourner is handed a special bracelet indicating their position in the queue, which is then checked at various checkpoints along the way. In the unlikely event that someone tries to jump on The Queue, hundreds of police officers and guards in high-visibility jackets are on hand to maintain order.
To make The Queue as effective as possible, the UK government has created a file Live Tracking Displays its current length and current endpoint location – warning potential queuers to be prepared for a very long wait.
“You will need to stand for many hours, perhaps overnight, with very little chance of sitting, as the queue will keep moving,” says the government official. A guide to the waiting list – Because there is such a document of course.
Cecilia Terrell, a 26-year-old artist, came ready for the long wait. “I got a lot of food and was going to bring an umbrella, but I forgot… I’ve been preparing for 12 hours, and that’s what they were saying on the news,” she told CNN.
By the time Tyrell reached the Lambeth Bridge checkpoint, she had been waiting for three hours. “I thought it would be a lot longer,” she said, adding that she felt the occasion was worth the time. “I have the time to do this and it’s a rare occasion, I just wanted to thank you,” she said.
By Thursday afternoon, the line had stretched more than four miles (seven kilometres), meandering all the way from Palace of Westminster to Tower Bridge and beyond.
There was even another person in the queue: guards equipped with a large black flag that read “Lying in the state, the queue begins here.” (Unlike other advanced queues, this one is forever destined to move away, never reaching that legendary destination, in front of the queue.)
Southwark Park, located about six miles southeast of Westminster, has been set as the end of the official waiting list.
But just to be on the safe side, authorities erected barricades to form an additional three miles of zigzag line within the park.
While people came to pay their respects to the Queen, many admitted that The Queue became her own experience.
Alice Hickson, a student, told CNN while standing near the end of The Queue near Tower Bridge.
Henri Hayler, a 33-year-old financial appraisal officer from Hastings, said he enjoyed meeting other people at The Queue. Hailer told CNN he joined the line after arriving in London at 5:30 a.m. on Thursday.
“We met the Archbishop of Canterbury, and he was there too, and I had a box of grapes and I showed him one and said ‘Oh, they taste like candy floss’ and he took one and [said] “You are a good salesperson” and I was like “Thank you very much,” a bit of a banter with the Archbishop of Canterbury which was very funny,” he added.
Westminster Hall, the oldest part of the Palace of Westminster where the Queen rests in the state, will remain open around the clock until early Monday morning, with authorities expected to continue to queue until the end.
By the time the wait ends, the queue may become one of the longest seen in Britain. It won’t be official though. Guinness World Records told CNN Thursday that it does not hold a record for the longest line.
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