Thousands Line Up to Say Goodbye to Queen Elizabeth II
Tens of thousands of mourners lined up through the night and into the day Thursday to file past the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Hall.
Aerial video in London showed the mourners lining the banks of the Thames River and across the Tower Bridge, stretching an estimated 5.6 kilometers. Officials expect 750,000 people to pay their respects before the queen’s official funeral on Monday.
The hall will be open 23 hours a day for visitors and will be guarded by soldiers from the royal household.
Buckingham Palace Thursday released the official order of service for events leading up to and after Monday’s state funeral. On Friday, King Charles III and his siblings will hold a vigil at their mother’s coffin for 15 minutes in Westminster Hall, as they did earlier this week when it lay in St. Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh.
About 2,000 guests, including visiting heads of state and other dignitaries, are expected for Monday’s service at Westminster Abbey. Immediately after, two minutes of silence will be observed across Britain, giving Britons a chance to pay their final respects to the late monarch.
Elizabeth’s coffin will then be transported from the abbey through the historic heart of London to Wellington Arch near Buckingham Palace on a horse-drawn gun carriage, with Charles and other royals walking behind.
The coffin will then be driven in the state hearse to Windsor for a committal service at St. George’s Chapel near Windsor Castle.
Later in the day, members of the royal family will hold a private burial service at the King George VI Memorial Chapel, where the queen will be interred with her late husband, Prince Philip, who died last year.
Elizabeth died September 8 at Balmoral Castle in the Scottish Highlands, a place she cherished and where Charles became king.
Some information for this report was provided by The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse