The wait before the wait.
Officials reopened the queue to see Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin Friday evening after the line had reached capacity and was paused, according to a live tracker by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport. Anyone wanting to see the queen lying in state was told on Friday they would need to wait at least six hours before they could even join another line that would be at least 14 hours to see the coffin. Included in this line was one David Beckham. That wait later would be over 24 hours amid temperatures that will drop to the 50s.
The queen died at her Balmoral summer retreat last Thursday at age 96, ending a 70-year reign. Her remains will lie in state until her funeral on Monday. Her coffin was topped with the Imperial State Crown — encrusted with almost 3,000 diamonds — and a bouquet of flowers and plants, including pine from the Balmoral Estate.
Twenty four hours of waiting prompted us to share more numbers on the procedings.
Four days the queen will lie in state before her funeral on Monday.
Thousands of people are expected to arrive in London through the weekend. It will be one of London’s biggest events. Transport for London which operates the city’s public transit routes said that buses will pull over and turn off their engines for a two-minute moment of silence on Sept. 19 at the end of Queen Elizabeth’s funeral.
One David Beckham. Soccer great Beckham has joined the miles-long queue of people waiting to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II as she lies in state.
People spotted the former England captain in the line of mourners near Britain’s Houses of Parliament at lunchtime on Friday. He is believed to have joined the queue at 2 a.m. and to have lined up for more than 10 hours with thousands of others.
500 portable toilets are positioned for the thousands of people waiting to see the queen’s coffin. Only one small bag per visitor is permitted inside the viewing area, so people must pack only the essentials needed to wait for nearly a day outside. Shops, restaurants and public restrooms are remaining open through the night to support people in line.
Zero photos are permitted inside the Palace of Westminster. Mobile phones must be turned off or put on silent.
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Hundreds of police offers have joined London’s Metropolitan Police to assist with crowds. In a statement, Met officers said: “We must balance the rights of protesters with those of others who wish to grieve and reflect.”
15% of Heathrow airport’s flight schedule will be changed to reduce noise during Queen Elizabeth’s funeral on Monday, Reuters reported. British Airways canceled 50 flights from that airport for the day of the funeral.
One major bridge and a lot of roads surrounding Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey will be closed to cars. Pedestrians are allowed as will cyclists who push their bicycles.
One book of condolences. The royal family is welcoming online messages from anyone — and a selection of them will be shared with the queen’s family or stored in the Royal archives.
Two places to lay flowers for the queen. Visitors can leave bouquets at public tributes at Green Park or Hyde Park, according to the Royal Parks website. Any flowers laid elsewhere will be moved to the Green Park site. The tributes are expected to be removed within two weeks after the memorial ceremonies.
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One strike of Big Ben’s bell. On Monday, the iconic bell of Elizabeth’s Tower will chime once at 9 a.m. before its hammer is covered by a piece of leather to muffle its strikes.
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Roughly 2,000 guests will be present at the funeral Monday at Westminster Abbey, the 753-year-old church where royals have traditionally been married, mourned and buried. Hers will be the first state funeral in the United Kingdom since Winston Churchill’s in 1965. She will be buried at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, where many of her ancestors are buried.
500 heads of state and foreign dignitaries are expected to attend the queen’s funeral. Members of other European royal families, leaders from Commonwealth nations and other top officials will arrive to London by plane and be bussed to the ceremony. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will not be riding the buses, according to the BBC. King Charles III will host the leaders at a reception the day before the funeral.
4.1 billion people are estimated to tune into live coverage of the queen’s funeral, smashing television records. That’s over half the world population watching the monarch’s historic 70-year reign end.
Contributing: Maria Puente, Elise Brisco and Amy Haneline