Queuing to see Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin, she was the last mourner

Queuing to see Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin, she was the last mourner

Queuing to see Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin, she was the last mourner

LONDON — For Christina Heerey, the last person in the mile-long line to see Queen Elizabeth II’s casket, seeing the queen in state was so important that she did it twice.

Heerey, who works for the Royal Air Force, waited in line on Sunday and finally entered the Palace of Westminster to see the Queen’s coffin at 1.15am on Monday.

And then she did it all over again.

“It went really, really fast, so I thought I’d try and see if I can walk around again, just to save the moment more,” she said Monday just before 7 a.m., after the screening ended.

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Her two trips through the queue took her 14 hours – but she said it was worth it.

“The queue was fantastic; both times I walked around, there were amazing people out there. And all the people who helped, they made it today, they were all very cheerful and trying to keep their spirits up, saying it’s not much longer, it’s not much longer. They were very good, she said.

Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin was put on public display for just over four days inside Westminster Hall during what is known as a laying-in-state period. Tens of thousands of people queued, at times for almost 24 hours, to pay their respects to the sovereign ahead of her state funeral on Monday.

The line, affectionately called “The Queue”, became an object of fascination both at home and abroad, with a dedicated government tracking and parody social media accounts. Celebrities including soccer star David Beckham lined up, while King Charles III and Prince William made a surprise stop on Sunday to greet well-wishers.

At one point the line became so long that the authorities had to close it temporarily.

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Late Sunday, the British government’s Department of Culture announced that the queue was at final capacity. Sky News captured the moment the last person was given a wristband to join the queue as disappointed mourners were turned away.

Heerey, who said she met the Queen a few times through her work in the Air Force, said she was a very special person.

“She was very inspiring as a woman, she was very inspiring as a world leader, a mother, a grandmother,” she said. “There’s a side to her that audiences don’t always see. From everything I’ve seen lately, she’s such a witty person, she’s a wonderful lady.”

Annabelle Timsit contributed to this report.

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