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13 July, 2024
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Thousands queue for one last goodbye (video)

The queues are avaeraging about 6 kilometers long as hundreds of thousands gather to pay their respects

Kathimerini Greece Newsroom

Thousands of people from all walks of life filed past Queen Elizabeth II's coffin overnight as the body of Britain's longest-reigning monarch lay on display in Westminster.

Queen Elizabeth's funeral

Queen Elizabeth's funeral will begin at 11:00 local time (13:00 Cyprus time) on Monday at Westminster Abbey in London before her body is taken for burial at Windsor Castle, a senior palace official said today.

A private burial ceremony for the Queen will take place at 19:30 local time (21:30 Cyprus time) on Monday at St. George's Chapel in Windsor, also according to a palace announcement today.

Tomorrow, Friday evening also at 19:30 local time (21:30 Cyprus time), her children, including King Charles III, will attend a vigil for the queen, who died on 8 September at the age of 96 in Scotland, during which they will be in front of her coffin.

Thousands pilgrimage to pay their respects one last time

Passing on either side of the coffin, which has been placed on an imposing plinth, citizens – visibly moved – bowed their heads in respect and some had eyes swollen from crying.  Standing in vigil are guards of the Tower of London (commonly known as Beefeaters) and soldiers who rotate every few hours.

An estimated 750,000 people are expected to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth in the run-up to her funeral on Monday.

Endless queues form along the south bank of the Thames, reaching 16km.

Thomas Hughes, 20, who waited in line for 14 hours with his brother, said he was overwhelmed when he finally got to the casket: "You do it as a sign of respect for this woman... and I think having gone through that process, when now the moment you've been waiting for arrives, emotions overwhelm you".

The vast majority of those waiting patiently for hours to be near the royal coffin are British. However, some are tourists who happened to be in London during this historic time.  There are also some parents with their babies in their arms in the queues.

One of the first to pay their respects at Queen Elizabeth's coffin was Kenneth Taylor, a 72-year-old from Reading, England, who had come with a neighbor and spent the night in a tent in the queue. With tears in his eyes, he said that when he saw the queen's coffin, he felt a lump in his throat. "I'd say she was the queen of all queens," he gushed.

The princely couple of Wales, William and Kate, visited the royal residence in Sandringham, eastern England, to see up close the flowers and dedications left there by thousands of Britons.

Security measures on Monday, the day of Queen Elizabeth's funeral, will be strictly enforced.

Kings and heads of state and government from every corner of the world will meet in London to pay their last respects to Elizabeth II of Britain.

The crowd attending the ceremony is expected to be one of the largest the country has ever seen.

Cyprus  |  Britain  |  funeral

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