Waiting for the Queen: The Most British of Virtues | Free press

Are you waiting in line for hours for a final goodbye to the Queen? Many Brits are pleased with this. They have a long tradition of waiting patiently while you still have fun.


For five nights and four days – until Monday morning, Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin is lined in the British Parliament and open to the public around the clock. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to pay tribute to the Queen again.

If you want to say goodbye to your deceased monarch, you have no choice but to stand in the gigantic queue. According to media reports, it may take up to 30 hours depending on how many people are standing in line. On Wednesday evening, a line from London Bridge on the south bank of the Thames ran up the river to Lambeth and over the bridge of the same name to Parliament – nearly four kilometers. The current end point can be viewed on Youtube.

But who could do better than the British? After all, standing in line patiently is considered the most British virtue that Britain prides itself on. So the British don’t care.

Good and kind mood

It’s the same with the sisters Yvette (59) and Helen Roberts (53). When they both stroll into the evening sun under Big Ben after saying goodbye to the Queen on a Wednesday night, they are truly inspired by the experience. “I don’t know how long I waited,” Helen said. You didn’t pay attention. Two women from Bedfordshire quickly lined up. “We made real friends,” says Yvette. The atmosphere was good and kind – another British advantage, he thinks.

This perception is also reflected in the atmosphere of the Westminster Bridge in front of Parliament, where crowds are leaving Parliament. They walk, talk, and stop in streets closed to cars. It’s like the Queen is calling a street party for all those paying their last homage.

Silence at Westminster Hall

In the venerable Westminster Hall, of course, the atmosphere is different. There, people in two columns flow into the hall, passing the coffin on the right and left. Nobody speaks. Many bow or stop as they approach the queen’s coffin, which is laid on a pedestal. Many people have tears in their eyes, some people wipe the tears from their faces and hear a few sobs.

The rules are strict: no souvenirs such as flowers or teddy bears are allowed. Cell phones must remain in your pocket. Photos and even selfies are not allowed. Even without prohibitions, the atmosphere at the venerable Westminster Hall is inspiring enough, with a massive medieval vault and the presence of the deceased monarch. Breaking the rules there would be very un-British.

Nevertheless, policemen, supervisors and, finally, ten soldiers from various guard units ensure compliance with the rules. The men in historical uniforms who stand guard around the coffin look frozen, motionless. The men change every 20 minutes. The watch unit lasts a total of six long hours.

Already on the first night of the delivery, an incident took place: the security guard suddenly fell and hit the ground with his face. The guards came to his aid and turned him over on his back. The BBC live stream was then switched to outside view. Initially, nothing was known about the health of the fallen victim. (dpa)

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