Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Sunday 3 December 2023 Dublin: 5°C
PA Members of the public queue last night to view the queen lying in state ahead of her funeral today.
The Queue

Queen's lying in state ends as some mourners vent frustration after being turned away from queue

There were peak wait times of 14 hours yesterday.

THE FINAL MOURNERS have paid their respects to the queen lying in state in Parliament’s Westminster Hall.

However, mourners who queued for hours through the night without wristbands have vented their frustrations at police after being turned away from the lying in state.

Dozens of mourners were prevented in the early hours of Monday from advancing any closer to Westminster Hall by police at the entrance to Victoria Tower Gardens next to Lambeth Bridge.

Mourners, some of whom were in tears, complained to police that they had been “lied to” earlier in the night about the chances of being able to get into Westminster Hall.

Albert, who joined the queue without a wristband at 10pm last night, was one of the mourners who was not allowed into Westminster.

He said the Government’s official live feed was not kept up-to-date with information that no further wristbands would be distributed.

“The communication has been terrible,” said Albert, after having queued in central London for over six hours.

He added: “There were loads of people who joined the official queue based on the website, but never received wristbands.”

“And in the queue they didn’t give us any information – just to be disrespectful to us when we got here (Lambeth Bridge) in the end.“

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said after 10.30pm on Sunday that the last people had been admitted to the line.

The department said: “The queue to attend Her Majesty The Queen’s Lying-in-State is at final capacity and is now closed to new entrants.

“Please do not attempt to join the queue. Stewards will manage those already nearby. Thank you for your understanding.”

Thousands of people have made the pilgrimage to pay their respects to the late monarch.

The announcement had been expected throughout the day on Sunday as waiting times hit a peak of 14 hours at 10am.

By 9pm the waiting time was seven hours as the last crowds filed through, with people collecting wristbands for entry at London Bridge.

An hour earlier, people in the queue stopped and bowed their heads to observe the national minute’s silence.

They applauded to mark the end of the silence at 8.01pm.

St John Ambulance had expressed concern about cold temperatures overnight as people queue alongside the River Thames.

It said in the early hours of Sunday morning that 98 people needed medical support, with nine taken to hospital.

Since Thursday, hundreds of thousands of members of the public have filed past the coffin until, early on Monday morning, the final people who had queued through the night left the cavernous medieval hall.

The process has seen a river of people snaking along the Thames around the clock, members of the public mixing with celebrities and foreign dignitaries beneath Westminster Hall’s hammer-beam roof.

Some bowed, some curtsied, others made the sign of the cross as they paused beside the coffin which was draped in the Royal Standard with the jewels in the Imperial State Crown, sceptre and orb, placed on top.

Members of parliamentary staff and, finally, Black Rod Sarah Clarke were the final people to pay their respects after the last of those who had queued had been through Westminster Hall.

queen-elizabeth-ii-death PA Black Rod walks through Westminster Hall at 06:29am to pay her respects on the final day of the lying in state. PA

The queen frequently visited Parliament during her 70-year reign.

She delivered her first Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament on November 4, 1952.

During her reign she only missed three state openings – in 1959 and 1963 when she was pregnant with Andrew, the future Duke of York and Edward, who would become Earl of Wessex and then in May this year as her health faltered.

On that occasion the then Prince of Wales opened Parliament, a role which will be his by right from now on as king.

The last member of the public to pass through the hall was Chrissy Heerey, a serving member of the RAF from Melton Mowbray.

Heerey said: “I was the last person to pay my respects to the queen and it felt like a real privilege to do that.

“I’d already been round once, I went in at 1.15 this morning.

“It’s one of the highlights of my life and I feel very privileged to be here.”

By the end, the flow of mourners passing into Westminster Hall had slowed to a trickle as those at the back of the queue finally reached their destination.

Some were smartly dressed in sombre black coats, while others wore brightly coloured outdoor gear which served as protection against the chilly autumnal night.

They passed through the hall in silence, with some pausing for one final look at the only monarch many of them have ever known before exiting into the dawn.

The silence was interrupted only by the changing of the guard every 20 minutes, the sound of military boots on the stone floor echoing off the walls.

Press Association
Your Voice
Readers Comments
This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
Leave a Comment
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.

    Leave a commentcancel