people at the back of the 8 kilometer line to see the queen

At the entrance to London’s Southwark Park, near where the queue to see Queen Elizabeth in state finally ends, there is a sign warning of a 2pm minimum wait from this point.

For those who intended to join the queue on Friday morning, the message on the electronic screen became even more disconcerting than the prospect of spending most of the day spinning along the line until finally reaching the Palace of Westminster.

In all caps, it read: “The status queue is currently paused. Please do not attempt to join until it resumes.”

Word from the government’s culture department quickly circulated that the park was at capacity and would likely take a six-hour break.

Those who entered the park were left with a “stick or twist” choice to continue.

Marshals overseeing the line said it stopped moving for around half an hour in the morning but resumed its slow march afterwards towards Westminster Hall.

Among them is Otiliah Nyamande, 71, who traveled from Zimbabwe to see the Queen lying in state.

“It’s a privilege to see the queen. When she became queen I was 2 years old. Now I know I’m old,” she said, playing with her scarf as the golden leaves creaked under his feet.

“Whatever happens, I will wait. I have water but I will get something to eat,” said Ms Nyamande, who is staying with her family in London.

“She was a ruler of God. I love my queen and I want to see her. I’ll wait and see how I handle it because I’m old. I am 71 years old.

“I thought I would never get the chance to see the Queen,” she says, singing the old version of Britain’s national anthem, God Save the Queen.

Kate Wright was among others who had heard the queue was broken but thought she would take a chance and come and try to join the queue anyway. She left Chichester with her eight-year-old son and husband Ian.

“You could see all the emotion on TV and I wanted to be part of it. I’ve been crying for days. I just had this overwhelming feeling that I needed to be here,” she said.

“I just wanted to come. We were well prepared to catch the train back if we had to.”

Others came alone, bursting with energy and well prepared for a long wait.

Signs in London show waiting times in the state.  Photo: Gillian Duncan/The National

Deborah Fox, 63, from Kent, left Canterbury at 11 a.m. for London. She heard that the queue was interrupted just as she boarded the train.

“I told myself whether I had to take a leap of faith or not. I’ve made it this far, but I anticipate the 6am break and 2pm queue might impact what I do. But I’m determined,” she said shortly after joining the queue around 1 p.m.

“She’s been a part of my life for my whole life. So part of that in terms of her has been there, a constant beacon to the world.

“I know I have the opportunity. I’m not bound by work or commitments and I thought if I didn’t take the opportunity I might regret it,” Ms Fox said.

“I have snacks. I must admit that I have already eaten half of them. But I feel that I am full of energy for the next 14 hours.

“My children fear that I am alone and I said I am not.”

Sharon Robinson, 60, originally from London but now living on the South Coast, also traveled to London alone to see the Queen.

“My son told me that the queue was interrupted when I was on the train. I thought oh my God, but I’ve committed now, so I’ll go,” he said. she stated.

“I’m not a massive royalist but I’ve always followed the Royal Family. And my mum was a big fan of the Queen, that’s part of why I’m here today. We’re a family from London, my mum loved the Queen and I just felt it was the right thing to do.”

Gayle Farrell-Lymer, 47, who was holding a plastic bag full of a bottle of water, a coke, a power bank to charge her phone, was 45 minutes into her long wait, but at peace with the thought of the upcoming trip.

She traveled to Dundee from her home in Birmingham to see the Queen’s motorcade pass through the city and wanted to see her lying in state.

Gayle Farrell-Lymer, 47, from Birmingham, traveled to Dundee to watch the Queen's motorcade pass by and joined the queue on Friday afternoon to see her lying in state.  Gillian Duncan / The National

“We’ve been here about 40 minutes since we entered the park. It’s a long walk around all rails. We were traveling from Birmingham and when we were on the train we heard the news that they had closed the doors. We thought we were already on our way, here we go and that’s it.

“As we were walking back there, one of the marshals told us not to rush you, it’s open again.

“I guess it was just to allow some of the buildup to come down. It’s been OK to be fair. It’s going pretty fast.”

She said the Queen was a “wonderful woman”.

“You don’t realize when you’re young how important she was. As you get older and appreciate things more, you really see everything she’s done and achieved in life, how the legacy will live on.

“We went through that, the whole time she was there.

“We are happy to be here today and happy that they opened the doors. I think we would have waited to see if they reopened anyway. We had planned for the long term.

“We’ll just see how we go and we’ll see some great sites in the day. We will see the big sites at night. I’ve never seen them in the dark before.

Officials said they had broken the queue to see Queen Elizabeth II lying down for at least six hours on Monday morning after reaching the end of the line at Southwark Park in Bermondsey.

Mourners have been told not to attempt to join until it reopens later. Wait times have been estimated at at least 14 hours.

“Hall [to the queue] will be paused for at least 6 hours,” the UK Department for Culture said on Twitter.

“Please do not attempt to join the queue until it is reopened.”

But marshals said the queue only stopped moving for 30 minutes.

“The queue was not interrupted. We were interrupted here for about half an hour earlier, but we seem to have, if there was a miscommunication or what we don’t know”, said the former soldier, who asked not to be named as he interrupted at the sound of his bell, tuned to the British Grenadiers, the regimental march.

“We were right back.”

The queue snaked from Southwark Park in central-southeast London to Westminster Hall, where the monarch is in state.

The accessible queue was also very busy in the late morning, officials said.

“Time slots for this afternoon are now full. There are long wait times. Please take this into consideration before heading to the accessible queue,” the culture department tweeted.

The queue, which broke at 9:50 a.m., was about five miles long at the time, according to the culture department’s live queue tracking.

Around 750,000 people are expected to file past the Queen’s coffin outside the doors of Westminster Hall near the public early Monday, the day of the state funeral.

What are the rules for attending the Queen’s Ceremony?

The government urged people to “dress appropriately for the occasion in order to pay tribute”, banning clothing “with political or offensive slogans”.

“Please respect the dignity of this event and behave appropriately. You should remain silent inside the Palace of Westminster,” he added.

Free riders and anyone intoxicated will be removed by stewards and police patrolling the lines.

Visitors will also face airport-style security checks, with strict restrictions on what can be taken.

Flowers, tributes, candles, flags, photos, baskets, sleeping bags, blankets, folding chairs and camping gear are all prohibited, with only one small bag with a simple opening or zip allowed for each person.

What to bring to Queen’s in state?

Official guidelines suggest people should bring weather-appropriate clothing, food and drink to take away while queuing, a portable power bank for their mobile phone and any essential medication.

Only bags smaller than 40 centimeters by 30 centimeters by 20 centimeters will be allowed in the lobby.

Larger bags can be left at the bag drop center, but capacity is limited and waiting for a spot will increase people’s waiting time, the guidelines say.

Flasks or bottles of water, with the exception of clear water bottles which must be emptied of their contents before the security check, are prohibited inside, as are weapons, whistles, smoke bombs, horns and similar objects.

The Queen’s coffin is guarded around the clock by units of the Royal Company of Archers and Gentlemen at Arms, the Yeomen of the Guard, at Westminster Hall.

Updated: September 16, 2022, 6:00 p.m.

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