In Pictures: The Queue To See Queen Elizabeth II Lying In State

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By M@
In Pictures: The Queue To See Queen Elizabeth II Lying In State
A queue beneath two flags of the queen with st pauls in the background

They’re calling it the Queue to end all Queues, the Final Level Boss of Queues, the apotheosis of a great British tradition, the Elizabeth line. Or simply The Queue. London has never seen anything like it.

A long snaking queue under rail arches
The queue on Tooley Street

At the time of writing, The Queue to reach Westminster Hall and the Queen's lying-in-state stretched almost three miles, snaking from Lambeth Bridge east along the South Bank as far as Tower Bridge. Many waited in line all through the night. If you join the queue right now (lunchtime of 15 September), you should be prepared to shuffle along for at least nine hours.

A queue near Tower Bridge
The queue appeared to come to an end at Tower Bridge at 10.30 this morning. But...
People walking either way in a snake-queue system
... it continued with a gap, filling in a snake-queue system in Potters Fields

The queue is expected to grow still longer. Organisers anticipate that the human chain will soon stretch deep into Bermondsey and on to Southwark Park. It must surely be the longest queue in British history.

A long queue of people before a yellow building with strong verticals
The queue snakes around the Southwark Cathedral area

It's a diverse bunch who queue up to almost see Her Majesty. Old and young (though very few children, understandably given the wait), every ethnicity. We saw men in full military dress, elderly ladies in mourning black, a mayor in full regalia, high-vis representatives of the "Faith Team"... even one person in a face mask.

A crowd on the south bank with St Pauls behind

Listen in on the conversations. All genuine snippets heard along the riverside:
"...only one toilet and the lock wasn't working..."
"No, I wouldn't say I'm a Royalist, but..."
"I've seen worse..."
"I haven't been here since I was a kid."

The view of St Paul's from Millennium Bridge with a queue along the bottom
A famous view, now with bonus queueing.

The crowds are well marshalled. Very well marshalled. A veritable army of high-vis wardens is in place to make sure people are comfortable, not skipping the queue and know how to find toilets and refreshments (both reasonably abundant). We overheard one entitled lady almost shouting at a marshal near Southwark Bridge "Am I nearly at the back yet?!? No? Typical."

A coffee stall on Bankside with plenty of customers
Plenty of catering is available en route

But there is nothing typical about The Queue. We've never seen its like before, and we probably never will again. And it's not even the weekend.

The view of the queue from a bridge, looking east
View from Blackfriars railway bridge

A livestream showing the current length of the queue is available courtesy of the Department for Culture, Digital, Media and Sport, or follow @DCMS on Twitter and Facebook (/dcmsgovuk) for further updates. In the time it took us to write this report, The Queue has lengthened to 4.2 miles and extends into Bermondsey.

All images by Matt Brown, copyright Londonist.

Last Updated 15 September 2022