The queue to see the Queen lying-in-state could stretch to 10 miles, officials have admitted.
Mourners towards the front of the line fought back tears as they solemnly entered Westminster Hall from 5pm today (Wednesday, September 14), to pay their respects to Her Majesty who died a week ago aged 96.
The route for those waiting to say farewell to the monarch stretches 6.9 miles over the River Thames and along the South Bank to Southwark Park.
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But airport-style zig-zag queuing channels have been installed in Victoria Palace Gardens and Southwark Park – stretching the possible length of the line to 10 miles.
The queue will be temporarily closed if it reaches its maximum, officials said, and shut permanently as the final viewing time of 6.30am on Monday (September 12) approaches to avoid turning away people at the hall door.
The Department for Culture consulted with behavioural scientists to judge how tightly packed and slow-moving the queue was likely to be.
Up to one million people are expected to line up for up to 30 hours to see the Queen before the state funeral on Monday.
Schoolboy Lewis Langstaff-Wood, 13, travelled 264 miles from his home in Bishop Auckland, Co Durham, to pay tribute to the Queen.
The avid collector of regal memorabilia said: “I have always loved the Royals but became more interested over the last two years, as I learned about their history.I started collecting bits and pieces.
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“I was upset when I heard about her death when I arrived home from school last Thursday.No-one saw it coming. It was a shock to us all.
“She has always been a constant in my life. I'm in London to see her lie in state and the procession and funeral. It will be very emotional but also a huge honour as it's a huge part of history.’’
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The teen travelled to the capital with his mum Laura and Royal superfan Anita Atkinson, 65, who owns the largest collection of royal memorabilia in the world.
“Anita, whose collection includes some 12,000 items dating back up to 200 years, said the Queen was still working in her last few days’. “That's all you need to know about her sense of duty,’’ she said.
At any given point 1,000 marshals, stewards, volunteers and police will be on hand to assist mourners and maintain order.
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They include 779 professional stewards on each of three eight-hour shifts each day assisted by 100 civil service volunteer marshals, 40 adult Scouts, 30 members of the first aid nursing yeomanry.
Ten members of the Red Cross will be on duty for each shift along with 30 multi-faith pastors co-ordinated by Lambeth Palace and six Samaritans to help with personal crises experienced by attendees.
Up to 1,500 military personnel are on stand-by if needed.
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More than 500 portable toilets have been sited along the route.
Coloured and numbered wristbands will allow queuers to reclaim their places after leaving to use toilets or fetch food and drink.
People arriving at the Houses of Parliament were told not to linger inside but keep moving as they pass through Westminster Hall in two lines – one on either side of the catafalque on which the Queen’s coffin was placed.
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