The coffin was processed through central London on Wednesday from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall, where the late monarch will lie in state for four days until her funeral on Monday.
Members of the public can visit the Queen’s coffin at Westminster Hall to pay their respects. Crowds had gathered since early Wednesday morning to witness the procession and a queue had started forming. The doors of the ancient auditorium on the banks of the River Thames were to open to the public from 5pm local time.
One person in the crowd, Sharon Stapleton, told CBS News, “She’s met so many interesting people that you don’t normally meet — all gathered and united in the queen’s grief, and excited to be able to see it. She’s in shock.”
“It’s been a long night. It’s raining, very wet, a little cold,” added Stapleton, who said she started waiting in line Tuesday at 9 p.m. “But it’s worth every minute.”
The most senior members of the royal family took part in the procession – a 40-minute walk from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall, including the new monarch King Charles III, Princess Anne, Prince Edward and Prince Andrew. William, Prince of Wales and Harry, Duke of Sussex walked in line behind the Queen’s children.
The procession included the tolling of Big Ben, the iconic clock tower in Parliament Square and a gun salute in nearby Hyde Park.
As soon as the procession left, the crowd gathered at various places along the route burst into applause.
A short service began after the coffin arrived at Westminster Hall, conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, attended by the royal family including Catherine, Princess of Wales and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.
The coffin will rest on a raised platform which will be guarded round the clock for the entire four days during the state period by members of various British military regiments assigned to royal defense duty.