As the sun peeped through the glass windows of Westminster Hall, I stepped onto the iconic site, set against the backdrop of some of the world’s most historic events, to pay my respects to Britain’s longest-reigning monarch. acted as.
Despite the chattering crowds outside that line on the streets of London, you could hear a pin drop inside, pushing the wait times past the record-breaking 14-hour mark.
Most of the mourners were dressed in black, and many took the opportunity to bow to the queen’s coffin during her three-minute visit – a gesture of respect passed down for generations.
Other visitors proudly wore their military honors.
While I have never considered myself a royal person, I cannot deny the sense of gratitude and feeling that the Queen’s coffin instilled in me.
Given the place that saw many important events over the centuries – including former Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s lay-in-state in 1965, Nelson Mandela’s 1996 address, and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’s lay-in-state in 2002 Was involved – Hall served as one. A poignant reminder of the history that cemented Britain’s legacy.
One thing that struck me was an overwhelming sense of emotion, after watching the crowd exit from the southbound entrance, across the coffin, and out to the north.
“When I saw it [the Queen’s coffin]”I couldn’t help but cry bitterly,” Sharon Martin told The Post. “I still can’t believe our precious ruler is no longer with us.”
Martin was far from the only person to break down in tears. There are four dedicated stewardess in each corner of the hall to hand out tissues to the distraught mourners, with supplies running out every three minutes.
But the 53-year-old royal family member from Essex, England, was one of the lucky few who managed to watch the guards change around the Queen’s coffin.
“I felt so lucky to see this happen. I love that about us Brits, we stick to tradition. It’s there for a reason and we should continue to respect it. Simple as is.”
Veteran Keith Walsh, who waited less than 10 hours to see Her Majesty’s coffin, said he felt a deep sense of honor waiting for the better part of Friday.
“I came here wearing my Northern Ireland medal,” Walsh, 57, told The Post. “I served five years in the military and I served two years in Northern Ireland in the 80s.”
“For the veterans, first and foremost, we knew him as the boss. She was our boss – the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. So there’s more to it than just a bond of nationality,” Walsh said.
“This is the service we have put forward for her, we have sworn allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen, her successors and successors, and to most veterans, this oath will last until the day you pass away ” It’s more than an honor—a bond we’ve made for him.”
Her Majesty’s coffin was brought to Westminster Hall on Wednesday, with the procession being led by her eldest son, King Charles III.
Built 900 years ago by William II, the historic building housed what was considered the largest hall in Europe at the time.
The landmark opened its doors to the general public on Wednesday and will be open 24 hours a day and close at 6:30 a.m. on September 19 – the day of Her Majesty’s state funeral.
Each day since the lines began, royal fans ignored warnings of endless wait times as they patiently walked in a queue, walking around the center of the capital close to Westminster Hall.
Sarah Slater, 67, from Canterbury, England, said: “I’ll wait as long as it takes – I’m not going anywhere.”
“I made a day of it. I knew what I was getting myself into and I’m totally happy with it. The wait has been really tough and I have three more hours to go. But guess what? What? I’ll wait and wait and wait. That’s the least I could do.”
For many people, spending a few minutes with a coffin means hours of trouble in chilly temperatures and rain. Hundreds of mourners suffering from waiting times or experiencing other medical problems have sought medics.
“We are very busy today,” St John’s ambulance medic told The Post on Friday. “I think a lot of people experienced severe discomfort, aches and pains from being in the queue for so long. We’ve seen a lot of people fainting, and in fact still fainting today.”
But despite the hard lines, the bereaved person I spoke with said they would do it again as an opportunity to pay tribute to the late Queen.
Kaam Kaur, 37, told The Post, “Rani was such a strong figure, when I was young she proved to me that anything and everything is possible.”
“She gave such a huge responsibility at an incredibly young age. But we never heard his complaint, never saw him in any trouble. Yet, she did everything with such grandeur and grace,” said Kaur, who waited eight hours in line to see Her Majesty’s coffin.
“She was a true inspiration. There will never be another queen in my life, but for 37 years of my life it feels blessed to know that she was my queen.”