Photos and videos of a gargantuan line to view Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin in London may be enough to make some say, “No thank queue.”
But it seems that thousands of British citizens see the gesture quite differently this week.
“You’ve got to suck it up. I’m here, I’m not going anywhere. I swore an oath to Queen and country and I feel it’s my duty to pay my respects,” David Carlson, a 75-year-old military veteran who is already in line, told The Telegraph.
“I have 1,001 emotions when I see her,” Chris Imafidon, another man in line, told The Associated Press. “I want to say, ‘God, she was an angel,’ because she touched many good people and did so many good things.”
On Wednesday, the queen’s coffin was carried from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall, where it will lie in state for public viewing until early Monday, the day of her funeral, the U.K. government said.
Two hours before Westminster Hall opened Wednesday, a line of mourners extended 2 miles from Parliament, continuing across a nearby bridge and along the River Thames, The Associated Press reports.
The line could stretch for 10 miles, with wait times of up to 30 hours to get into Westminster Hall, Sky News reports. In a warning to the public, official guidance issued Tuesday states, “You will need to stand for many hours, possibly overnight, with very little opportunity to sit down, as the queue will keep moving.”
Well-wishers will be given color-coded and numbered wristbands before they join the line. These wristbands, which cannot be taken off, will allow people to leave “for a short period” to use the bathroom or buy food and drinks.
Hundreds of stewards, police officers and first-aid providers will be looking after those who are waiting, the AP reports. Thirty multifaith pastors and volunteers from a suicide prevention organization are also on hand to help with the emotional needs of anyone who might be struggling.
The government has even posted a livestream on YouTube that shows where the line ends for those who want to join.
Officials say they can’t predict how many mourners will want to say goodbye to the queen, but The Telegraph estimates that as many as 400,000 people may be able pay their respects.
And although the British are known for their excellent queuing skills, some fear that the line will test many people’s limits.
“I have a fear that we might be sleepwalking into a really difficult situation,” Jonathan Haslam — who served as chief communications secretary to former Prime Minister John Major — told Times Radio, according to The Telegraph.
Haslam said he “could not imagine” that Elizabeth “would want people to go through” a 30-hour wait.
“We’re going to see some horrible stories about people suffering, trying to pay their respects. And there’s got to be a better way of doing these things,” he added.