Great Britain: Waiting on the Queen, or: The Most British of Virtues


Waiting in line for hours for the Queen’s final farewell? Many Britons are happy to do just that. They have a long tradition of waiting patiently while you have fun.

FIVE NIGHTS AND FOUR DAYS – Coffin queen until Monday morning of Elizabeth II It is housed in the British Parliament and is open to the public 24 hours a day. Millions of people are expected to once again pay their respects to the Queen.

If you want to say goodbye to the dead king, you have no choice but to stand in a grand queue. According to media reports, it can take up to 30 hours, depending on how many people are queuing. On Wednesday evening, the line ran upstream from London Bridge on the south bank of the River Thames to Lambeth and across the bridge of the same name to Parliament – nearly four kilometres. The current endpoint can be viewed on Youtube.

But who better to handle than the British? After all, queuing patiently is considered a very British virtue, and the UK prides itself on it. So the British take it easy.

Good mood and goodness

The same goes for sisters Yvette (59) and Helen Roberts (53). As the pair strolled into the evening sun under Big Ben after saying goodbye to the Queen on Wednesday evening, they were truly inspired by the experience. “I don’t know how long I waited,” Helen said. You’re not paying attention. Two women from Bedfordshire were quick to catch up in the queue. “We’ve made real friends,” says Yvette. The atmosphere was good and benevolent – ​​another British virtue, she thinks.

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A concept also reflected in the atmosphere at Westminster Bridge outside Parliament, where large numbers of people gathered to leave Parliament. They are strolling, chatting and wandering the streets where cars are closed. As the queen invited all the mourners to a street party.

Silence in Westminster Hall

At the venerable Westminster Hall, the atmosphere is different. There, people run into the hall in two columns, passing the coffin to the right and left. No one speaks. Many bow or pause as the queen’s coffin approaches the stage, which is placed on a plinth. Many have tears in their eyes, some are wiping tears from their faces, some are crying.

The rules are strict: no souvenirs such as flowers or teddy bears are allowed. Cell phones should be in your pocket. No photos or even selfies are allowed. Even without the barriers, the atmosphere in the venerable Westminster Hall, with its mighty medieval vaulted ceiling and presence of the dead monarch, is awe-inspiring enough. Violation of the rules there is anti-British.

Nevertheless, police officers, supervisors and last but not least, ten soldiers from different security units ensure that the rules are followed. Men in historical-looking uniforms stand guard around the coffin, frozen in place. They change positions every 20 minutes. A guard unit lasts a total of six hours, during which the men must stand still.

An incident happened on the first night already installed: a security guard suddenly collapsed and hit his face on the floor. Nearby guards rushed to his aid and put him on his back. The BBC live stream then switched to an outdoor scene. The condition of the deceased was initially not known.

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