Over the previous couple of days I’ve been to see the queue for the lying-in-state of Queen Elizabeth II. My first go to was near its place to begin at London’s Tower Bridge.
Often the safety guards are fast to remind me to not cycle. This time they have been welcoming and pleasant. They appeared happy with their function in proceedings, maintaining a tally of the queue whereas answering queries and giving instructions to bogs and low stops.
Most individuals wore flat sneakers, aware of the queuing time of 12 to 13 hours. All have been dressed for a cold day of standing and sluggish progress alongside the riverside. Some carried flags or had medals on show. Everybody was properly ready with telephone and backpack or bag of provides for the lengthy day forward.
Small teams huddled collectively. The temper was pleasant and excited as new mates shared meals, images and life tales within the chilly sunshine. Some sat in tenting chairs, others stretched or posed with their medals. There was a way of anticipation and shared enterprise.
My second go to was a day later, beginning at Blackfriars Bridge and following the queue alongside the river to Westminster. At this level there was nonetheless 4 or 5 hours to go.
Folks right here had joined the queue in the midst of the night time so had began the day with out a lot sleep. Many have been shrouded in blankets or hugged them shut in a bundle. They dragged their toes, took a relaxation on a riverside bench or stepped away from the queue for a consolation break and a cup of tea.
There was weary resignation. The keen pleasure of the early hours was changed by one thing extra sombre and decided – an ordeal to be endured.
I parted firm with the queue on Westminster Bridge, leaving it to snake previous the Covid Memorial Wall and again over the Thames. On the bridge, now shut off to vehicles for safety causes, there was a pageant environment regardless of the elevated safety close to Parliament. Households with younger kids fanned throughout the street, mentioning the view and giving the lone bagpiper extra of an viewers than normal.
Now I used to be in firm with individuals who have been heading dwelling after reaching the top of the queue and passing the Queen mendacity in state. They sounded exhausted as they described their expertise to mates on the telephone. “It affected me greater than I assumed it might” mentioned one lady. “The make-up you gave me ran whereas I used to be there”.
Photographs beneath on Saturday 17 September 2022 at Tower Bridge