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Waiting time in queue to see Queen Elizabeth lying in state reaches 24 hours

Earlier, people were urged not to join the line until at least 4pm today due to overwhelming demand.

Members of the public in the queue at Southwark Park in London, as they wait to view Queen Elizabeth II lying in state.
Members of the public in the queue at Southwark Park in London, as they wait to view Queen Elizabeth II lying in state.
Image: PA

Updated Sep 16th 2022, 8:01 PM

PEOPLE ARE EXPECTED to queue for 24 hours from this evening to see Queen Elizabeth lying in state in London, and the British Government has warned “overnight temperatures will be cold”.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) online tracker says the expected wait time is more than 24 hours, warning of chilly temperatures as people queue from Southwark Park in south-east London to pay their respects to the Queen’s coffin in Westminster Hall, about five miles away.

Earlier, the queue was paused for 40 minutes when it reached full capacity, and mourners were urged not to join the line until at least 4pm today.

Officials stopped people joining the queue entirely at around 11.35am at the entrance to Southwark Park in south-east London due to overwhelming demand.

The call was made as the official estimate for queuing time reached at least 14 hours, before a warning was also issued about long wait times at the “very busy” accessible queue.

However, there was some confusion on the ground as hundreds of people continued to file through the gate into the park, with one attendant saying they had yet to receive an order to bar entry.

queen-elizabeth-ii-death A sign in London informing members of the public that the queue to view Queen Elizabeth II lying in state is over 14 hours. Source: PA

The DCMS had tweeted: “Southwark Park has reached capacity. Entry will be paused for at least 6 hours. We are sorry for any inconvenience. Please do not attempt to join the queue until it re-opens.”

Tens of thousands of people have queued for many hours to see the British monarch’s coffin raised on a catafalque in Westminster Hall since it officially opened on Wednesday.

With people waiting through the night to witness the lying in state, the queue had grown to almost five miles long by Friday morning.

The Government had warned that Southwark Park had become “extremely busy” before making the decision to suspend entry.

But hundreds of mourners were witnessed continuing to enter the park despite the Government’s online warning.

One queue attendant told the PA news agency they had yet to receive any instructions to close the gate and stop any more people joining.

The DCMS also issued a warning that the time slots for Friday afternoon had filled up, adding: “Please consider this before making your way to the accessible queue.”

Figures from the London Ambulance Service (LAS) show that 435 members of the public were treated along the route of the queue to see the Queen lying in state and surrounding areas over the past two days.

Some 291 people along the route of the queue and nearby in London were given medical assistance on Wednesday, with 17 needing hospital treatment, the LAS said.

A further 144 people were treated on Thursday, with 25 people being taken to hospital.

The LAS said the majority of incidents attended were faints and collapses, resulting in head injuries.

The lying in state will be open 24 hours a day until closing at 6.30am on Monday, ahead of the state funeral in Westminster Abbey.

About the author:

Press Association

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