- King Charles visits Wales, the last stop on his UK tour
- King and siblings should keep a vigil on Friday night
- Before the funeral, the police have made a huge security
LONDON, Sept 16 (Reuters) – As thousands of people poured into London ahead of Queen Elizabeth’s state funeral on Monday, the mile-long line of mourners waiting to see her lie in state was temporarily closed on Friday after reaching capacity. .
People of all ages and walks of life have paid their respects to the late Queen, joining an orderly line that stretches along the south bank of the Thames and then across the river to Parliament’s Westminster Hall.
But by mid-morning, the queue was long – a testament to the public’s respect and affection for the Queen, who died in Scotland on September 8 at the age of 96 after a 70-year reign.
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“Entry will be suspended for at least 6 hours,” Britain’s Department of Culture said shortly before 10 a.m. (0900 GMT) “Please do not attempt to join the queue until it reopens.”
A waiting period of up to 12 hours has been warned. A total of around 750,000 people are expected to file in front of the Queen’s coffin.
On Friday night, King Charles, who was visiting Wales on Friday, and his sister Princess Anne and brothers Princes Andrew and Edward will join the ceremonial guard for a 15-minute vigil around the coffin.
“I have no sensation in my knees or in my legs at all,” said Hyacinth Appa, a mourner from London who was in the queue.
“But that’s okay. Most of the people are lovely and we’ve had a great time.”
Another mourner from London, Naomi Brown, said she had waited around 11 hours after joining the queue after work on Thursday night.
“I just thought, I’m never going to do this again. I have so much respect for the Queen, she never wavered,” Brown, 29, told Reuters. queue
“She’s a good symbol for our country. It feels like we’ve lost a family member.”
The coffin rests on a purple catafalque in ancient Westminster Hall, draped in the Royal Standard and topped with the jeweled Imperial State Crown.
Soldiers and other officials in formal uniform stand guard as people go to pay their respects after their long wait. Many were moved to tears, while others bowed or bowed their heads.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who was among those visiting Westminster Hall on Friday for the funeral in London, stopped sobbing as she filed in front of the coffin.
London’s police force said the state funeral would be the biggest security operation ever as prime ministers, presidents and royals gather to pay their respects.
Senior police officer Stuart Cundy told reporters that the force was preparing for incidents ranging from terror threats to demonstrations and crowd suppression.
US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron are among the foreign guests who have confirmed they will attend.
King Charles, who ascended the throne after his mother’s death, meanwhile, was visiting Wales on the last leg of his tour of the United Kingdom to greet the public and recognize his status as the new monarch and head of state.
Charles and his wife Camilla, the Queen Consort, spoke to cheering well-wishers outside after attending a service at Cardiff’s Llandaff Cathedral.
Wales holds special significance for the new king, who held the title of Prince of Wales for five decades before his ascension last week.
Speaking in the Welsh Parliament, Charles said: “Throughout all the years of her reign, the land of Wales could not have been closer to my mother’s heart. I know she was very proud of your many great achievements – though she felt too. You are in deep sorrow.”
“I resolve to honor that selfless example,” he said, speaking in Welsh and English.
“I accept my new duties with gratitude for the privilege of being able to serve as Prince of Wales. That ancient title … I now pass on to my son William.”
There were some anti-royalty demonstrators outside Cardiff Castle, where Charles met Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford.
One man held a banner reading “Abolish the Royals” and a placard reading “End Prince of Wales”. Another man held a sign reading “No to the Monarchy, No to Charles, Great Reset”. Another read: “Not my king”.
Similar smaller protests have taken place outside Parliament and in Edinburgh in recent days, although support for King Charles has grown since Elizabeth. Read on
The new Prince of Wales, William and his brother Prince Harry, and the Queen’s six other grandchildren will stand in front of the coffin on Saturday evening, a royal spokesman said.
In an adjustment to protocol, both Harry and his uncle Prince Andrew will be allowed to wear military uniforms during the vigil, royal officials said. On Friday evening, Andrew will perform duties with his siblings.
Both are war veterans, with Andrew serving as a Royal Navy helicopter pilot in the Falklands War and Harry serving two tours of duty with the British Army in Afghanistan.
But so far he has been seen in procession in morning suits as he has lost his honorary military title after stepping back from public royal duties.
The state funeral is likely to be one of the grandest ceremonies ever held in Britain’s capital, involving thousands of military personnel.
The Earl Marshal, Edward Fitzallan-Howard, Duke of Norfolk, who is in charge of the state occasion, said he hoped the funeral would “unite people around the world”.
London’s Heathrow Airport said it would cancel 15% of its flight schedules on Monday to reduce noise over the city and ensure the sky is silent during the two-minute silence at the end of the funeral. Read on
Monday has been declared a national holiday. Many shops will be closed and many other economic activities will come to a standstill. Thousands of people face canceled doctor’s appointments or operations under the state health service.
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Additional reporting by Alastair Smout and Farooq Suleman; Writing by Angus McSwan; Editing by Kate Holton and Alison Williams
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