The line of mourners waiting to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II following her death last week is now about five miles long, with some people waiting up to 30 hours or more to see her casket.
The line of people seeking to get into Westminster Hall, which has become known simply as “the queue,” had to be shut down Friday because it had gotten so out of control, The Daily Mail reported. This didn’t dissuade citizens from around the world waiting for their chance to say goodbye. The publication reported that a second “queue for the Queen queue” has been started since the official line was temporarily closed.
The government posted an update just before 10 a.m. local time, saying “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.”
The queen’s coffin will be on view in Westminster Hall until Monday, when a state funeral will be held for the longest-reigning monarch in British history. Her Majesty was 96 when she died September 8 at Balmoral Castle.
British officials have been posting warnings about the extensive wait times, advising mourners to be prepared to wait overnight and to have food and water to sustain them for that length of time. The government set up public toilets, drinking water stands, and first-aid stations along the queue route, according to The New York Times.
“I keep saying to the kids, ‘We’re part of history — you’ll never get this opportunity again,’” one person in line told the publication of why she opted to go.
“We’re not here for the monarchy — we are here for her,” another person said of waiting four hours to see the queen’s casket and say goodbye.
The atmosphere inside Westminster hall is apparently somber, quiet, and respectful.
One mourner said waiting in the long line was worth it in the end. Marc Carney from Kent told Daily Mail he was “struck by the realism” of her death and how it affected the international community.
He said, “It hits you how moving it all is and how much love and support there is for the Queen.”
In a statement from the royal household shared on Twitter, King Charles discussed his mother’s death.
“The death of my beloved, Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family,” he stated.
“We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother,” he added. “I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.”
“During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which the Queen was so widely held,” the statement said.