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

LONDON — For Christina Heerey, the last person in the miles-long queue to view Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin, it was so important to see the queen lying in state that she did it twice.

Heerey, who works for the Royal Air Force, waited in line on Sunday and finally entered Westminster Palace to see the queen’s coffin at 1:15 a.m. on Monday.

And then she did it all over again.

“It went really, really quickly, so I thought I’ll try to see if I can go around again, just to save the moment more,” she said Monday just before 7 a.m., after the viewing had ended.

Why is the world so fascinated by Queen Elizabeth II?

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

“The queue was amazing; both times I went round, it was amazing people out there. And all the people that helped out, they made it today, they were all very cheerful and tried to keep everybody’s spirits up, saying it’s not much further, it’s not much further. They were very good,” she said.

Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin was laid out for public viewing for a little over four days inside Westminster Hall during what’s known as a laying-in-state period. Tens of thousands of people waited in line, at times for nearly 24 hours, to pay their respects to the sovereign ahead of her state funeral on Monday.

The line, affectionately dubbed “The Queue,” became an object of fascination both at home and abroad, with a dedicated government tracker and parody social media accounts. Celebrities, including soccer star David Beckham, joined the queue, while King Charles III and Prince William stopped by unexpectedly on Sunday to greet well-wishers.

At some point, the line got so long authorities had to temporarily close it.

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

Heerey, who said she met the queen a few times through her work at the air force, said she was a very special person.

“She was very inspiring as a female, she was very inspiring as a world leader, a mother, a grandmother,” she said. “There’s a side to her that the public don’t always see. From everything I see lately, she’s such a witty person, she’s an amazing lady.”

Annabelle Timsit contributed to this report.

Apsny News

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