LONDON – At least 250,000 people joined the huge line to see Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin lying in state for four days in London’s Westminster Hall at Parliament, an official said Tuesday.
Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan said officials were still “crunching the numbers,” but estimated that about a quarter-million people joined the longest queue most have ever seen for a chance to file past the queen’s coffin from Sept. 14 until hours before her state funeral on Monday.
Many in the queue waited for up to 13 hours, braving the autumnal chill and spending the night shuffling along the River Thames to pay their respects to the late monarch. The London Ambulance Service said staff and volunteers cared for around 2,000 people who lined up, and took 240 for hospital treatment.
The queen, who died on Sept. 8 in Scotland after 70 years on the throne, was interred alongside her late husband Prince Philip and her parents in Windsor Castle’s St. George’s Chapel on Monday.
The private interment service followed a state funeral at Westminster Abbey attended by hundreds of world leaders and dignitaries, and 10 days of national mourning.
Outside Windsor castle, cleaners were busy clearing up and international news crews were taking down their equipment after thousands packed the streets Monday to view the military parade escorting the queen’s coffin to St. George’s Chapel.
“The nation certainly has come together. As for the crowd yesterday, it was unbelievable really,” said Marion Brettle, 73. “I think the whole nation stopped, and thought, and listened, and watched.”
The royal family were observing another week of mourning and aren’t expected to carry out official engagements. Flags at royal residences will remain at half-mast until the morning after the final day of royal mourning.
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