The alleged British love of queuing will be tested to destruction after the public were warned they could face a wait as long as 35 hours to file past the monarch’s coffin in London later this week.
On Monday night, tens of thousands of people queued through the night in Edinburgh to view the coffin in St. Giles’ Cathedral. The queues have stretched well over a mile from the church.
At one stage Monday, the queen’s body was watched over by a vigil of her four children, headed by King Charles.
However the numbers turning out to see the queen lying in state in London are expected to dwarf the Scottish showing.
The queen’s body is to be flown to London on Tuesday evening and on Wednesday will be taken to Westminster Hall, where it will lie in state until the morning of the funeral, Monday, Sept. 19. The public is being invited to file past the coffin in the intervening four days.
However the London Times reports that of the 750,000 mourners expected to try to see the coffin, only 350,000 people will actually manage to do so and that the “central estimate” the authorities are working on is that queue times will be in the region of 17-35 hours.
The paper said: “A meeting of the government’s Cobra emergency planning committee was told yesterday that the central estimate for queueing times to enter Westminster Hall was 17 to 35 hours.”
Sources also told the Times there was anxiety that some mourners could “feign disabilities” in order to get into a special access queue that will likely have a much shorter wait time.
The mourning rituals and funeral are the subject of a huge policing operation, the Times said, with as many as 10,000 police on duty in London every day.
Simon Morgan, a former protection officer for the queen told the paper: “It’ll be the biggest policing operation that U.K. policing has ever dealt with.”