Thousands queued for 20 hours overnight to see the Queen’s coffin

People packed jumpers, band-aids and snacks to keep them going (Image: AP/EPA/Getty)

Thousands have braved the cold to join a nearly four-mile long queue to reach the Queen’s casket at Westminster Hall.

Temperatures are set to drop to 7°C overnight, with similar freezing temperatures expected on Saturday.

As darkness fell on this evening, the Queue was still winding its way through central London.

A steady stream of people, wrapped in sweaters and blankets, chatted with newfound friends while they waited.

A man with a headlamp could even be seen painting the now famous queue.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) online tracker says the expected waiting time is around 19.5 hours.

“Temperatures overnight will be cold”, the government also warned in its latest update.

St John’s Ambulance urged those waiting overnight to take precautions against the cold.

Ambulance personnel have already treated 435 people along the route to ‘The Queue’ and the surrounding areas in the last two days.

Members of the public line up as they line the Embankment, with the Palace of Westminster, the House of Parliaments and the Elizabeth Tower, often referred to as Big Ben, in the background, to pay their respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II, who lies in state in Westminster Abbey, in London, at sunset on 16 September 2022, - Queen Elizabeth II will lie in state at the Palace of Westminster until  0530 GMT on September 19, a few hours before her funeral, with huge queues expected to file past her coffin to pay their respects.  (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN/AFP) (Photo by ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images)

The current waiting time in the queue is 19.5 hours (Image: AFP)

People line up to visit Britain's Queen Elizabeth who lies in state, after her death, in London, Britain, September 16, 2022. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

Temperatures have dropped with urgent warnings to end the heat (Image: Reuters)

People queue along the River Thames near Tower Bridge to pay their respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II during the Lying-in State, at Westminster Hall in London, Friday 16  September 2022. The Queen will lie in state at Westminster Hall for four full days before her funeral on Monday, September 19 (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

People queue along the Thames as Tower Bridge shines in the background (Image: AP)

A large line continues to make its way towards Westminster Hall, as an undaunted steady stream of people pours in to say their final farewells to the Queen.

Tatie Kirst, 38, of Canada Water in south-east London, a project manager who had just joined the queue in Southwark Park, said: ‘Well, it’s a journey isn’t it?

“I think I’m prepared, I brought my good coat, I have a stool if I need to sit, I get food and water, and we’ll be on our way.

“I think there’s always a question: Is it worth it? Can I make it? And hopefully, yes.


St John’s Ambulance crews on how to ‘beat the queue’

  • Wear comfortable shoes and clothes
  • Stay hydrated and bring snacks
  • Be prepared for all weather conditions – the forecast is for warm days and much cooler nights with temperatures dropping into the single digits
  • Seek medical help from St John volunteers if you are injured or feel unwell.

“I wanted to be a part of this, show respect to the Queen.”

Around 2,000 volunteers have offered their medical support with the late monarch’s lies in state and funeral.

Dr Lynn Thomas, St John Ambulance’s medical director, urged people to pack the essentials – layers, plasters and food.

She added: “Try to keep your feet dry as this will help maintain your core temperature. For those waiting overnight, it’s getting chilly, so wrap up warm. Consider bringing several thin and thermal layers instead of heavy, bulky sweaters, as these can draw heat away from your body.’

A policeman stands guard as members of the public line up as they line the Embankment, with the Palace of Westminster, the House of Parliaments and the Elizabeth Tower, often referred to as Big Ben, in the background to pay their respects to the deceased.  Queen Elizabeth II, lying in state at Westminster Abbey, in London, at sunset on 16 September 2022, - Queen Elizabeth II will lie in state at the Palace of Westminster until  0530 GMT on September 19, hours before her funeral, with huge queues expected to drive past her casket to pay their respects.  (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN/AFP) (Photo by ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images)

A policeman stands guard as people queue along the Embankment (Image: Getty Images)

An artist paints a picture of people queuing to visit Britain's Queen Elizabeth, lying in state, after her death, in London, Britain, September 16, 2022. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

An artist paints a picture as history unfolds before him (Image: Reuters)

People line up at Victoria Tower Gardens to visit Britain's Queen Elizabeth who lies in state, after her death, in London, Britain, September 16, 2022. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Lines being built at Victoria Tower Gardens earlier (Image: Reuters)

“Be sure to bring plenty of food and water to stay hydrated. We do see cases of people fainting, but you can reduce the risk by making sure you eat and drink regularly to regulate your blood sugar.

“This is a difficult time for many and the news can affect people in different ways. So take care of each other and if you are upset and struggling emotionally please reach out for help and talk to someone.

‘Finally, but most importantly, please go to a St John Ambulance treatment center or first aid post, or look out for one of our volunteers, if you or someone you are with is injured or unwell.’

Downing Street claims the queue system is going to plan.

James Birchall (33), a trainee physiotherapist who traveled from Liverpool to pay his respects, was also among those queuing tonight.

He said: ‘Now I just feel normal and numb, but as I get closer and closer [to the Queen’s coffin] I think I’m starting to get more emotional and maybe five minutes before I go in, I’ll probably start crying, even though I don’t look like a person.

Also queuing was Vlasta Picker, 73, from Bedford, who said: “I came here in 1977 on the Silver Jubilee.

“When he grew up in Central Europe, monarchy was a thing of the past, history.

“I was quite captivated actually, it was huge in 1977 and I’ve admired her ever since because she was a wonderful person, unique.

“To serve your whole life to the end, that’s something, isn’t it? Outstanding. And that’s why I want to be here.

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