Queue to see Queen Elizabeth's coffin paused after reaching capacity

The queue was around 7.8km long as at 5pm Singapore time. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON - The queue to see Queen Elizabeth lying in state in London was temporarily closed on Friday after reaching capacity, the government said, as officials warned of waiting times of at least 14 hours.

Elizabeth died in Scotland aged 96 last week.

It prompted an outpouring of emotion that drew tens of thousands out to see her coffin on its journey to London, and that has now compelled many more to join long lines to pay their respects during a 4½ day lying-in-state ceremony.

"Entry (to the queue) will be paused for at least 6 hours," Britain's culture department said on Twitter. "Please do not attempt to join the queue until it re-opens."

The constantly moving queue is snaking its way from Southwark Park in central south-east London to Westminster Hall, where some 750,000 people in total are expected to file past the Queen's coffin before Monday morning.

"I've no sensation in my knees at all or my legs," said a mourner from London, Hyacinth Appah, who was in the queue.

"But it's been fine. Most of the people have been lovely and we've had quite a nice time."

The queue was around 7.8km long as at 0900 GMT (5pm Singapore time), the culture department's live queue tracker showed. 

Another mourner from London, Ms Naomi Brown, said she waited for nearly 11 hours after joining the queue on Thursday night after work.

“I just thought, I’m never going to do it again. I have so much respect for the Queen, not once did she ever falter,” 29-year-old Brown said, speaking to Reuters as she was nearing the front of the queue.

“She has been such a good symbol for our country... it feels like we have lost a family member.”

Later on Friday, King Charles, his sister Princess Anne, and brothers Princes Andrew and Edward will keep silent vigil at the Queen’s coffin for 15 minutes. REUTERS

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