Resolute mourners continued to join the five-mile-long line to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II in London on Saturday – despite official warnings that they could face a 24-hour cold weather wait before see the monarch’s coffin in Westminster Hall.
“It was the right thing to do,” Jane O’Kane, 52, told The Sunday Times of London. “The Queen has been there all our lives.”
It took 12 hours, but O’Kane finally arrived in the Great Marble Hall to greet the Queen one last time.
“I curtsied,” she said. “It was so moving.”
The breathtaking queue, which winds along the south bank of the Thames before crossing Lambeth Bridge, could break records.
“Although Britons like to queue, I don’t think we’ve ever seen this on our shores before, at least not for a few generations,” said Guinness editor Craig Glenday. World record.
Nearly 306,000 people lined up in February 1952 to pay their respects to George VI, the father of Queen Elizabeth II, during his enthronement at Westminster Hall.
Guinness World Records has already announced that the flight that carried the Queen’s coffin to London this week was the most watched flight in history, with 4.79 million users tracking its progress on the Flightradar24 website.
London’s long queue included celebrities like David Beckham, who waited until 12 p.m. on Friday to pay his respects in tears, and visitors from as far away as Peru.
“It was seeing this image of the Queen alone at Prince Philip’s funeral that made me want to come,” said Sam Record, 30, a medical assistant from Derby. “It showed how much she was on our side, especially when we learned that the Prime Minister was throwing parties and ignoring the rules.”
King Charles III and Prince William surprised mourners on Saturday morning, walking through the crowds to thank those who waited so patiently to pay their respects.
Wristbands given to those who have endured the queue in recent days are already on sale on Ebay, the BBC has reported – not to skip the queue, but as souvenirs.
An “accessible queue” to accommodate people with disabilities had to be closed on Saturday evening, after wristbands were distributed for all of its available time slots.
Meanwhile, rehearsals continued for the thousands of British soldiers due to attend Monday’s state funeral.
British soldiers from the 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards Queen’s Company, which traditionally guards the body of the deceased monarch, were recalled from their duties in Iraq this week to take part in the ceremony, the Telegraph reported.
A group of 12 soldiers from the unit joined in a moonlit rehearsal early on Saturday as hundreds of soldiers escorted an empty hearse down Windsor’s Long Walk.
Escorts from the Grenadier Guards – the soldiers in large black hats who stand guard outside Buckingham Palace – will accompany the Queen’s final journey to Windsor Castle, where she will be laid to rest on Monday afternoon.