(noun) the bodily embodiment of Britain’s grief after the loss of life of Queen Elizabeth II

The loss of life of the aged monarch was inevitable, the ceremonies have been lengthy deliberate, however the public response nonetheless caught the nation without warning. And the most important shock was the willingness of individuals to attend many hours for just a few moments with the Queen’s coffin, in what turned often called The Queue.

At its peak, The Queue stretched for 5 miles by way of London, principally alongside the Thames, and took 24 hours from begin to end. But few individuals, and positively none of those who I spoke to, mentioned they regretted standing in it.

The Queen’s loss of life on September 8 got here at a second of nationwide anxiousness over vitality costs. Such issues briefly fell away. 1000’s of individuals discovered the time and the need to be collectively. They felt they owed that to the lady who had served them for 70 years.

Volunteers, lots of them civil servants, marshalled the road. Wristbands have been issued to cease queue-jumping, although the ambiance was pleasant, and celebrities like David Beckham joined in. The Queue reached capability at occasions, resulting in an off-the-cuff “queue to hitch The Queue”.

The climax, contained in the medieval Westminster Corridor, was a scene from one other age — a grand coffin within the half-light, watched by royal guards, often called Beefeaters, with the mourners forking into traces both aspect.

How many individuals queued? The division of tradition estimated 250,000. That will be decrease than the 306,000 reported to have attended the lying-in-state of the Queen’s father, King George VI. It will even be under the 320,000 reported at Winston Churchill’s lying-in-state, though the accuracy of historic estimates isn’t clear. The Queen’s reign was record-breaking, however her queue could not have been.

Regardless of: The Queue was a break from the busyness, the cynicism, the individualism, of recent existence. If solely she might have seen it.

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