queue of mourners for the queen

Camping chairs, street cleaners and £20,000 plane tickets: waiting for the Queen’s final journey

After a rainy night, the sun began to peek through the cloudy sky over Buckingham Palace this morning, from where the Queen’s final journey to Westminster Hall will begin.

Mourners already lined the barriers around the Queen Victoria memorial in the early hours while gardeners and street cleaners added the finishing touches for the procession.

Many people have brought camping chairs, warm coats, food, drinks and books as they prepare to wait.

They talk to each other about their memories of Her Majesty, when they met her and how far they travelled today.

Melanie Macnab paid almost £20,000 to fly from Sydney, Australia, to witness the Queen’s final journey.

The 50-year-old nurse said: “My kids think I’m bonkers but the Queen has been the most consistent person in everyone’s life.

“I think she deserves a massive send-off and no one in the world does it like the Brits do. I really like tradition and I think it’s important for the next generation.”

The Mall quickly filled up as people arrived with a sense of expectant waiting – for many it is the first event of its kind.

Leaving Buckingham Palace towards Westminster Hall, the increased police presence is noticeable.


Heavy police presence in central London as the capital prepares to welcome Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin #thequeen #kingcharles #kingcharlesiii

♬ original sound – the_londoners_

Thousands of officers, soldiers, volunteers and civil servants are helping to keep everyone safe over the next few days.

A few squabbles over closed roads and restricted access aside, the mood is one of celebration.

People are here to pay their last respects to the Queen and mourn her passing but for many today also signifies coming together as a nation.

Sharon Merrit came down from Salisbury to queue to see the Queen lie in-state in Westminster Hall this morning.

The 42-year-old civil servant said: “For me it’s the service she’s given the nation. She’s always done her job and put the nation above herself.

“The Royal Family is part of our history and it connects us back through our history.”

When the Queen died last Thursday, the public mood was one of shock and sorrow.

Today as her Majesty begins her final journey to Westminster Hall it is one of thankfulness – a celebration of a life which above all had the ability to connect people.

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