People have moved away from lying in the state as the accessible queue closes without warning

People have moved away from lying in the state as the accessible queue closes without warning

People queue at Tower Bridge - Anthony Upton for The Telegraph

People queue at Tower Bridge – Anthony Upton for The Telegraph

The accessible queue to see Queen Elizabeth II lying in the state was closed for good on Saturday afternoon as officials warned that the main queue would also be closed on Sunday.

The lie in the state will end at 6:30 on Monday, the day of the queen’s funeral.

But the entrance is expected to close hours early, with visitors being advised not to travel to join the queue later on Sunday.

The separate and shorter queue for disabled visitors had “reached full capacity” by 4:30 pm on Saturday, the government said, with people asking not to join as there were no more slots to distribute.

Nursing First Aid Yeomanry speaks to audience members who have come to pay their respects - Anthony Upton for The Telegraph

Nursing First Aid Yeomanry speaks to audience members who have come to pay their respects – Anthony Upton for The Telegraph

A government source said: “The public desire to see the lie in the state has been phenomenal and we want as many people as possible to be able to pay homage to the queen.

“But we don’t want people to take long journeys either, especially to join the queue only to find it closed, so we’ll give people as much notice as possible, including advice not to leave if they hope to join the queue – so they can avoid. disappointments.

“We are monitoring the numbers incredibly closely to make a judgment on the final capacity, which is a difficult balancing act and we know some people will sadly miss it.

“We have always said that we will have to close the queue well in advance of the end of the lie in the state due to the huge demand.

“The audience has been incredibly understanding the whole time and we would like to thank them for the way they approached the queue.”

On Friday evening the accessible queue closed at 8pm and did not reopen until noon on Saturday.

Many people got lost after the kiosk closed and had to go home without paying homage to the late queen, while others joined at the bottom of the main queue.

Those who had been waiting in the accessible queue since Saturday morning spent six hours securing their slots before they closed around 4:30 pm.

Towards the end of the main queue, paramedics from the London Ambulance Service said they were working to locate the “stoic” people struggling with the steps and help them shorten the remaining journey to Westminster Hall.

People in heavy clothing and sleeping bags on the floor - Adam Vaughan / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock

People in heavy clothing and sleeping bags on the floor – Adam Vaughan / EPA-EFE / Shutterstock

Judy Smith, 75, was using a crutch and joined the back of the main queue at 4:20 am Saturday, reaching Lambeth Bridge by 2:30 pm.

“Now I’ve been given a bracelet because I can’t take the steps anymore. There have been a few along the way before, but I struggled. It means there was some kind of robbery behind me, “she said.

The accessible queue “wasn’t signposted anywhere and the website said it was closed earlier today, so we didn’t worry. You weren’t guaranteed to go in either, ”she said.

Sheila Wager, 85, was forced to queue twice on Saturday because she lost her bracelet and was told to go back to the back.

“I had to go back to Southwark Park to find another band. It took another two hours and I had already walked three hours.

She joined the queue at 6 am on Saturday and at 2:45 am on Saturday afternoon she received a band from the marshals at Lambeth Bridge which allowed her to speed up the last part of the queue.

Entry to the entire five-mile route has already been suspended once, with visitors being told not to join for six hours on Friday.

On Friday afternoon and in the early hours of Saturday, queue length estimates reached 24 hours, although no one approaching the front on Saturday afternoon claimed to have waited for something like this that long.

On Friday, mourners faced the coldest London night in recent months, with temperatures dropping as low as 7C, and a similar cold was expected on Saturday night.

Despite this, the mood was high, with little sign that people were giving up.

People line up near Tower Bridge - Clodagh Kilcoyne / Reuters

People line up near Tower Bridge – Clodagh Kilcoyne / Reuters

In Southwark, jubilant queues served as the backdrop to photographs of a newlywed couple’s wedding lunch on Saturday.

A queue member, Philomena Pound, 71, had traveled over 200 miles from Blackpool.

“I would cry if they told me to go home now. But I wouldn’t listen, I would try to carry on.

“If you really want to pay tribute to the queen, you will keep moving forward,” he said.

Among those who joined on Saturday was Dame Kelly Holmes, the Olympic champion, who said she was “overwhelmed” by watching the live feed of people processing through Westminster Hall.

“People feel this warmth, they connect with this moment,” he told the BBC.

One man was so undaunted by the queue that he completed it twice.

Sam Mason, from west London, told the BBC he first joined the queue on Thursday at 11:30 pm and took 12 hours to reach Westminster Hall.

After a trip home to service his car, he came back and walked down the hall again by 10am on Saturday.

“It’s part of the story and I want to be part of it. I had two hours [of] you sleep in 48. I go home to bed, ”he said.

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