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HomeUK NewsQueen's lying-in-state: What to know before you join the queue

Queen’s lying-in-state: What to know before you join the queue


People queuing to see the Queen near WestminsterImage source, PA Media

Huge queues are forming along the banks of the River Thames, as people wait to pay their respects to the Queen.

Her lying-in-state will continue 24 hours a day until 06:30 on Monday 19 September – the day of the funeral. Here’s what you need to know before joining the queue.

How long will I have to queue?

The UK government has published a live queue tracker for people to follow on YouTube. Currently the queue is almost three miles long and the back of the queue is close to London Bridge.

The government hasn’t yet said how long people at the back will have to queue.

People queuing are being warned they will need to stand for many hours – possibly overnight – with little opportunity to sit down, as the queue will be constantly moving.

The maximum length of the queue is 10 miles – with 6.9 miles from Westminster to Southwark, and a three-mile zigzag queue in Southwark Park.

Where do I join the queue?

Check the tracker to see where the back of the queue is.

People should receive coloured wristbands as they join, so they can leave for a drink, or to go to the toilet, and then return.

Those in the queue are asked not to attempt to save a place for someone else, or leave personal items unattended, or put up tents.

As the queue gets longer, it will spill onto the South Bank, where it will follow the banks of the River Thames, past the National Theatre, Tate Modern and HMS Belfast, through to Southwark Park.

Once people get towards the front of the queue, they will pass through Albert Embankment and then be directed across Lambeth Bridge, into Victoria Tower Gardens, towards Parliament.

They will have to go through airport-style security before entering Westminster Hall, inside the Palace of Westminster.

Where can I go to the toilet while queuing?

There are more than 500 portable toilets at various points along the route.

Local venues and museums – including the Southbank Centre, the National Theatre, BFI Southbank and Shakespeare’s Globe – will stay open for extended hours and in some cases for 24 hours, for people to use their facilities.

Cafes and other local businesses are also expected to open for extended periods.

Media caption,

People have queued through the night for the chance to pay their respects to the Queen lying in state

When will the queue close?

The lying-in-state period ends at 06.30 BST on Monday, 19 September, and the queue will close early to ensure as many people as possible can get in. Any decision to close the queue will be posted on government social media accounts.

Is there disabled access?

The queue has step-free access and there is a separate accessible route, for those who need it, beginning at Tate Britain. Timed entry slots will be issued to join a queue along Millbank.

Step-free access is available to Westminster Hall for those who need it, and guide dogs and other assistance dogs will be allowed. British Sign Language interpreters will also be available.

Visitor assistants in Parliament will guide wheelchair users and any people with mobility issues (and their carers) along a route to access Westminster Hall.

Are extra trains running?

Transport for London says the Westminster area of London will be “exceptionally busy”. People are being asked to avoid driving into London if possible. Some roads will be closed, especially around Westminster itself, which will disrupt bus services.

Travel providers say the best way to get around central London will be by using London Underground and rail services, although there may be temporary Tube station closures at short notice, along with special queuing arrangements.

Visitors are being advised to plan ahead, check real-time travel information, and consider walking instead wherever possible.

People are also being asked to avoid Green Park Tube station unless they need step-free access.

Do I need a ticket?

There are also a number of rules about what you can take into Westminster Hall, and how visitors should behave – there is further information on the Houses of Parliament website.

Do I need to bring ID?

People will not need to show formal identification to enter the hall, but airport-style security checks will be in place.

Image source, PA Media

What should I bring ?

People are advised to check the weather conditions in advance, and dress accordingly.

They are also advised to bring:

  • food and drink – although these will need to be consumed or thrown away before you reach the security checks
  • any essential medication or equipment
  • a portable mobile phone charger.

What can’t I take in?

  • flasks or non-clear bottles – only clear water bottles are allowed in
  • flowers or other tribute items – flowers can be taken to the dedicated area in Green Park
  • any sharp items including knives
  • coolers, hampers, sleeping bags and other camping equipment
  • non-foldable pushchairs
  • banners, placards, flags, advertising or marketing messages

Any prohibited items will be confiscated and not returned. Police may also conduct security checks along parts of the queue.

Each person is only allowed to take in one small bag with a single opening or zip

There will be a bag-drop facility, but it will have limited capacity, and if you want to use it, you might have to spend extra time waiting for space to become available.

What are the rules once inside?

People are asked to respect the dignity of the event, and should remain silent while inside the Palace of Westminster and dress appropriately, Anyone wearing clothes with “political or offensive slogans” will not be allowed in.

Mobile phones and other electrical devices should be turned off or put on silent mode.

Once inside Westminster Hall, the queue will be divided to pass on either side of the catafalque, which is the raised platform where the closed coffin lies.

Visitors are asked to keep moving forward at all times while in line, until they have exited into Parliament Square.

Can I take photos?

Not inside. Filming, photography and the use of mobile phones or other devices will not be allowed in the security search area or once inside the Palace of Westminster.

Image source, Reuters

What if I need medical help?

There are eight first aid stations run by St John Ambulance along the route. They are at Southwark Park, Potters Fields Park, the Tate Modern, the Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, Archbishop’s Park, Lambeth Palace and Victoria Tower Gardens.

And more than 1,000 volunteers, stewards and police officers will be on hand to help anyone who needs it. Volunteers are from the Scouts, Samaritans, the British Red Cross, First Aid Nursing Yeomanry and the Salvation Army.

Where can I get a drink?

There are water stations along the route, and venues and museums will provide refreshments.

When is the national silence?

A one-minute silence will be held across the UK at 20:00 BST on Sunday 18 September, the night before the Queen’s funeral.

What about floral tributes?

Large numbers of floral tributes have already been placed by the public at royal residences around the UK. The Royal Household has issued guidance on where they can be left:

At Buckingham Palace, dedicated sites have been set up in Green Park and Hyde Park for members of the public to lay flowers.

At Windsor Castle, they can be left at Cambridge Gate on the Long Walk and at the Royal Family’s Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, flowers can be left at the Norwich Gates.

At Balmoral Castle, where the Queen died on Thursday, flowers can be left at the Main Gate. Aberdeenshire Council has asked people to use park and ride services from the nearby settlements of Braemar and Ballater, rather than attempting to drive to the castle as there is no road access at the moment.

In Edinburgh, members of the public can lay flowers in the Physic Garden, next to the Abbey Strand Gate at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Security guards were seen cutting plastic off bunches of flowers before they were laid on the ground.

At Hillsborough Castle flowers may be left on the Castle Forecourt, in front of the main gates.

The government and Royal Household have asked that no flowers, wreaths or tributes be sent directly to royal residences, government offices or to the location of the Queen’s funeral.

In further guidance, the Royal Parks said non-compostable items, such as teddy bears or plastic wrapping, should be avoided where possible.

“Removing the wrapping will aid the longevity of the flowers and will assist in subsequent composting which will start between one week and a fortnight after the date of the funeral,” it said.

Where can I sign a condolence book?

Many local authorities have set up books of condolence in libraries, town halls and other civic buildings, as well as suggested local places where flowers can be left.

You can use this link to find your local authority, then visit its website to find out what might be available near you.

Places of worship in towns and cities across the UK are also open for prayer and reflection and to light a candle. Many cathedrals are offering the opportunity to lay floral tributes in memory of the Queen.

How can I pay tribute online?

There is an online book of condolence on the Royal Family website which can be accessed by clicking here.

A selection of messages will be passed on to members of the Royal Family, it says, and they may be held in the Royal Archives for posterity.

BBC News is also collecting your stories and memories of the Queen for our online tributes page – you can share your special moments with us via this online form.



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