Over 250,000 people queued to see Queen Elizabeth's coffin, according to British officials. The queen's coffin lay in state for four days, and saw people from around the UK—including David Beckham!—queue for hours upon hours to pay their respects to their late monarch.
56-year-old Vanessa Nathakumaran was the first in line, over two days before the queue even opened. "I didn’t plan to be the first in line," Nathakumaran told Town & Country. "But there’s a determination of spirit among us. It’s a respectful reflection of all Britain coming together in this moment."
Chrissy Heerey, a serving member of the Royal Air Force, was the last person in line. "I was the last person to pay my respects to the Queen and it felt like a real privilege to do that. It’s one of the highlights of my life and I feel very privileged to be here," she told the BBC. It was her second time viewing the lying-in-state (she queued twice).
In between Nathakumaran and Heerey were mourners from all walks of life. Per the Associated Press, "Many in the queue waited for up to 13 hours, braving the autumnal chill and spending the night shuffling along the River Thames to pay their respects to the late monarch. The London Ambulance Service said staff and volunteers cared for around 2,000 people who lined up, and took 240 for hospital treatment."
David Beckham, the famous British soccer star, queued for over 13 hours to see the Queen. "We all want to be here together and experience and celebrate the amazing life of our Queen. I think that something like this today here together is meant to be shared," he told reporters.
Many documented their journeys in the queue on their social media, with TikToks and tweets about the experience going viral.
"Here I had come looking to decipher the event’s meaning and, instead, fate spoon-fed me wisdom: You never have as much time as you think with anyplace, anything or anyone—not even with a guard at a lying-in-state procession," Richard Morgan wrote for T&C. "Even a moment days in the making, days in the pondering, and days in the feeling, can upend expectations and require fresh, raw, unrehearsed response. Every heart should make peace not with its moods, but rather with the permanent and absolute amateurism that comes with feeling your way through the nascence of what’s next."
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