Royal mourners pour in to pay respects to Queen as Westminster Hall opens doors

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Queen Elizabeth II: Mourners queue to pay respects

Tearful royal mourners are paying their last respects to the Queen at the lying in state in Westminster Hall.

People began to file in at 5pm with some breaking down in tears as they slowly processed past the late monarch’s coffin. 

The coffin arrived to lie in state following a poignant procession from Buckingham Palace led by King Charles earlier today as well-wishers lined the streets of central London.

Thousands of people have been queuing since last night for a spot in a line to file past the coffin in Westminster Hall.

The late Queen’s coffin will lie in state for the next four days before the state funeral on Monday.

The doors were set to open at 5pm but by 2pm the line already stretched far past Westminster Bridge and beyond County Hall.

The queue has the capacity to snake back 10 miles but there is no guarantee that everyone who joins will be able to say a personal farewell as demand is expected to be high.

It is understood that the queue may be closed early in a bid to avoid disappointment but it is not known when that might be.

Queen lie in state

The Queen is lying in state at Westminster Hall as well-wishers pay their respects (Image: GETTY)

Queen queue

Members of the public queue on the South Bank (Image: PA)

Queen queue

People wait to pay their respects to the late monarch (Image: PA)

Numbers will be monitored towards the end of the lying in state period, which must be completed by 6.30am on September 19.

Entry to the line will also be paused for a time if the queue – which runs 6.9 miles from Victoria Tower Gardens to Southwark Park, with a further three miles within the park itself – reaches capacity.

Joyce Dawson, 54, from Middlesbrough, has never visited London before but said she was “inspired” to travel down for the Queen’s lying in state after seeing the first people in the queue being interviewed on TV on Tuesday evening.

She said: “I texted my daughter and said: ‘We have to go to London tonight’, so we’re here. It was a spur-of-the-moment thing.”

Queen queue

One person camps in a tent (Image: PA)

Queen queue

The queue has the capacity to be 10 miles long (Image: PA)

Queen queue

The Archbishop of Canterbury greets well-wishers in the queue on Wednesday (Image: PA)

Queen coffin

The Queen’s coffin is lying in state at Westminster Hall (Image: GETTY)

She and her daughter Shelby, 26, who has also never been to the capital before, got on the midnight coach from Middlesbrough and joined the queue at about 8am on Wednesday.

Ms Dawson added: “It’s just nice to be a part of this. It’s exciting, I’m dead excited, I’m like a little kid.”

Kush Sonigra, who lives in the London area, was spending his 24th birthday in line.

He said: “Well, fortunately, from work I get the day off for my birthday, so I thought I’d get involved and see what the hype is about, get involved with the event.

Queen coffin

The late Queen’s coffin will lie in state for the next four days before the state funeral on Monday (Image: GETTY)

Queen coffin

The doors were set to open at 5pm (Image: GETTY)

“There’s a family dinner table so I’m hoping, depending on how late I finish here, I might be able to make it for that. Otherwise, we will postpone that to the weekend.”

There will be more than 1,000 volunteers, stewards, marshals and police officers on hand.

People in the queue are being given a coloured and numbered wristband which allows them to leave for a brief time before returning to their spot.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is running a live queue tracker to pinpoint the end of the line.

Queen coffin

The procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall (Image: GETTY)

Queen coffin

The King led the procession (Image: GETTY)

Queen coffin

The late monarch leaves Buckingham Palace for the final time (Image: GETTY)

It comes after the Queen was handed to the nation for a period of lying in state after members of the Royal Family made a solemn procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall which began at 2.22pm.

Huge crowds lined the route in central London in the bright weather, with many well-wishers in tears.

A gun carriage that had borne the coffins of her mother and father carried the late monarch, while funeral marches were played by military bands.

The King led royals as they walked behind the coffin, draped with a Royal Standard and adorned with the Imperial State Crown, and pulled on a gun carriage of The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery.

Charles walked in line with his siblings the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex.

Behind were the late Queen’s grandsons Prince William, Prince Harry and Peter Phillips.

The brothers, who have had a fractured relationship in recent years, put on a show of unity in their grief for their grandmother.

Princess Anne’s husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, the Duke of Gloucester, the Queen’s cousin, and her nephew the Earl of Snowdown also walked in the procession.

Queen Consort Camilla, Kate, Meghan Markle and the Countess of Wessex followed in cars behind.

Wider members of the Royal Family attended Westminster Hall, where the Archbishop of Canterbury led a short service.

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