Great Britain is mourning – and those who want to pay their last respects to the deceased Queen can now say goodbye to Elizabeth II’s coffin. But this requires patience. Much patience.
London – In the London Parliament, the compatriots of the late Queen Elizabeth II say goodbye en masse to their longtime head of state. Westminster Hall, where the monarch lies in state, has been open to the public since early Wednesday evening.
Right from the start, a queue stretched around four kilometers through the center of the British capital. Waiting times of up to 30 hours are expected for the coming days. Some estimates put up to two million visitors who want to pay their respects to the Queen.
Incident shocks visitors
Several soldiers from royal regiments stand vigil at the corners of the coffin. They should be replaced every six hours. Standing for a long time was obviously too much for one of the guards: he stood on a small platform in front of the coffin on Thursday night, then suddenly fell over during a change of guard and hit his face on the ground. Bystander guards rushed to help and rolled him onto his back. Several waiting people who wanted to say goodbye to the Queen clapped their hands in shock in front of their faces. Nothing was initially known about the health of the security guard.
The incident was live on the internet due to the BBC broadcast. The stream then switched to an exterior view and only some time later back to Westminster Hall. There, as before, people could be seen walking past the coffin in two queues, some stopping and bowing. Some were visibly moved.
Paramedic present due to long wait
In view of the long waiting time, hundreds of helpers, police officers and paramedics are ready. The Queen’s body should remain in state until next Monday morning (7.30 a.m. CEST). He is then transferred to Westminster Abbey, where the funeral service will be held at noon. This is followed by the state funeral, attended by hundreds of heads of state and government, members of royal families and other dignitaries.
It is considered a great honor that Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako will travel from Japan – representatives of the oldest hereditary monarchy in the world do not traditionally attend funerals, either in Japan or abroad. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron and EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen have also been announced.
The Queen’s coffin was carried from Buckingham Palace to Parliament in a solemn procession on Wednesday afternoon, accompanied by her immediate family. Queen Elizabeth II died last Thursday at the age of 96 at her Scottish country estate, Balmoral Castle. Her coffin was taken to the Scottish capital of Edinburgh on Sunday and then to London on Tuesday evening. dpa