More than 24 hours of waiting to be the first to see the queen’s coffin. An odyssey that did not stop the momentum of thousands of people who swarmed around the Albert Pier in London to get a place in the precious queue, which was not overcome by the passage of time, neither sweat nor tears.
The banks of the River Thames became the place of pilgrimage for those who intend to enter Westminster Hall first to pay their respects to the funeral chapel of Elizabeth II.
“It’s time to be here”said one of the first onlookers to cross Westminster Bridge in the morning to head to the queue. “We are not going to have another queen, we had to come”he assured, as did two women who had come from the north of England especially for the occasion.
“We have brought flowers to Green Park and now we have come here. We can only stay one day, so we hope to enter,” added one of them.
His prognosis was more optimistic than those who wait until the last minute to join the line. The British Government has predicted up to 30 hours of waiting for those people who reach the end of a line that is expected to reach 10 miles in length -15 kilometers- and that practically crosses the center of London by the Thames bypass.
[Carlos III, en su primer discurso al Parlamento: “No puedo evitar sentir el peso de la Historia”]
At 5:00 p.m. local time (6:00 p.m. Spanish peninsular time), as planned, they opened the doors of the building to receive the first visitors.
Tiredness was visible on people’s faces waiting near Lambreth Bridge, as were the looks of hope and joy when the volunteers began handing out the bracelets that give the green light to access the funeral chapel. These bracelets began with the color yellow and with a distinctive number on them and will vary with the passing of hours and days, to avoid scenes like those that occurred in Edinburgh, when a woman accumulated seven bracelets to go seven times to see To the queen.
That will not happen in the oldest wing of Parliament, where the coffin will rest. That is the end point of the adventure that Anthony undertook with his wife and son, displaced from the east of England, who have barely been able to sleep at night due to the heavy rain that fell on the British capital and forced many to resort to raincoats and tents that were unusable after the downpour.
“It hasn’t been easy, but it will be worth it. We had also brought flowers, but they won’t let us in with them.”, assured. And he is not without reason, because the security measures that will surround the queen’s coffin are similar to those of an airport control.
The Government has recommended that folding chairs not be used, since the queue will not stop moving. The authorities also recommend that you bring, for waiting, water, food, medicines (if needed) and portable mobile chargers.
It will not be possible to go to the instance with non-transparent water bottles, no banners, controversial symbols, sharp objects, no flowers or tributes. There will also be no photography or video recording, and all attendees are asked to remain silent during their passage through Westminster.
[Carlos III promete “lealtad y respeto” para ganarse al Reino Unido: sólo le apoya el 42% de los británicos]
“I hope that everyone respects this moment, whether or not they are in favor of the monarchy. He has been a very important person for everyone,” said Jennifer, born and raised in London and visibly moved by the historic moment she is going to witness.
As a way of thanking you for your effort, the archbishop of canterburyJustin Welby, primate of the Anglican Church, he approached the first people stationed at the beginning of the queue and greeted them one by one. “God bless everyone in this row and keep them warm,” he said, before heading to Westminster to lead the Queen’s memorial service.