Waiting times stretched to more than 25 hours overnight as thousands of mourners braved the cold temperatures to see the queen reclining in the state.
At around 1:15 am on Saturday, the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) online tracker said the expected waiting time was at least 25 hours as people queued from Southwark Park in South East London to pay homage to the Queen’s coffin at Westminster Hall, about five miles away.
DCMS has warned people not to travel to join the queue and to check back later on Saturday morning for updates on waiting times.
Those already in line were asked to prepare for the cold, as temperatures dropped below 10 ° C early in the morning.
Undaunted, a steady stream of people joined the queue on Friday night, many wearing coats and sweaters.
Tatie Kirst, 38, of Canada Water in South East London, a project manager who had just joined the queue at Southwark Park, said: “Well, it’s a trip right?
“I think I am prepared, I have brought my nice coat, I have a stool if I need to sit down, I take food and water and we walk.
“I think there is always a question, is it worth it? I can do it? And hopefully, yes.
“I wanted to be part of it, to pay homage to the queen.”
At 5am, the DCMS said the queue was “near full capacity with waiting times of at least 24 hours”.
Those inside Westminster Hall were briefly shocked Friday night when a man was arrested after exiting the queue to approach the queen’s coffin.
Metropolitan police said the incident occurred around 10pm, as the live feed from inside the hall was interrupted for a short time.
A Scotland Yard statement states: “At around 10pm on Friday 16 September, officers from the Met’s parliamentary and diplomatic protection command arrested a man in Westminster Hall following riots.
“He was arrested for a crime under the Public Order Act and is currently in custody.”
Earlier on Friday, the queue was paused for 40 minutes when it reached maximum capacity and when it reopened the mourners were urged by the DCMS not to join the line until at least 4pm.
Officials prevented people from joining the line around 11:35 am at the Southwark Park entrance due to overwhelming demand.
Downing Street said the queue system would be planned.
James Birchall, 33, a physiotherapist in training who traveled from Liverpool to pay his respects, was also in line.
He said, “Now I feel normal and emotionless, but as I get closer and closer (to the queen’s coffin) I think I’ll start to get more emotional and maybe five minutes before I go in I probably will, even if you don’t seem like the kind of person, I’ll probably start crying.
“I loved the Queen very much, she was fantastic, she has been there all her life, I have always respected her. She was great for our country, she always did her duty to her until her death.
“When she died, I was overwhelmed with emotion and thought, I have to come to London to see it.”
On the thousands of people lined up, he added: “I am absolutely amazed because there are so many people, young and old – I didn’t think young people would come, necessarily, because they are not quite in tune with the monarchy, but there is. so many young people here to pay tribute, which I think is great.
Also in line was Vlasta Picker, 73, from Bedford, who said: “I came here in 1977 for the Silver Jubilee.
“Growing up in Central Europe, the monarchy was a thing of the past, of history.
“I was really quite mesmerized, it was impressive in 1977 and I have admired her ever since because she was a wonderful, unique person.
“To serve for life to the end is something, isn’t it? Without precedents. And that’s why I want to be here. “
Data from the London Ambulance Service (LAS) shows that 435 members of the public have been assisted along the queue route to see the Queen lying in the state and surrounding areas over the past two days.
About 291 people along the queue route and in the vicinity of London received medical care on Wednesday, with 17 needing hospital treatment, the LAS said.
Another 144 people were treated on Thursday, with 25 people hospitalized.
The LAS said most of the accidents they participated in were fainting and collapsing, resulting in head injuries.