Sep 17, 2022
By Angus Gillespie
Thousands of people spent a cold night outside in London, England as they huddled in line to view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, and authorities warned that arriving mourners face anywhere from a 16-hour to 22-hour wait.
London Police arrested a man after what the force described as a “disturbance” Friday night in Parliament’s Westminster Hall, where the queen’s coffin is lying in state, draped in her Royal Standard and capped with a diamond-studded crown.
Parliamentary authorities said someone got out of the queue and tried to approach the coffin on its platform. The Metropolitan Police force said a man was detained for a suspected public-order offense.
The tide of people wanting to say goodbye to the queen has grown steadily since the public was first admitted to the hall on Wednesday. On Friday, authorities temporary halted letting more visitors join the end of the line, which snakes around Southwark Park some 8 kilometres from Parliament.
Overnight, volunteers distributed blankets and cups of tea to people in line as the temperature fell to 6 degrees Celsius (43 degrees Fahrenheit). Despite the weather, mourners described the warmth of a shared experience.
King Charles III and Prince William made an unannounced visit to greet people waiting to file past Elizabeth’s coffin. The two senior royals shook hands and thanked the mourners in the miles-long queue near Lambeth Bridge.
Charles has made several impromptu walkabouts since he became king on Sept. 8, in an attempt to meet as many of his subjects as possible.