First mourners to see Queen Elizabeth lying in state were overwhelmed

·2-min read
Queen Elizabeth's coffin is on display credit:Bang Showbiz
Queen Elizabeth's coffin is on display credit:Bang Showbiz

The first mourners to see Queen Elizabeth lying in state were overwhelmed with emotion.

Londoner Vanessa Nathakumaran - who started queuing on Monday morning (12.09.22) - was the first to visit Westminster Hall to see the coffin of the late monarch on Wednesday (14.09.22) when members of the public were allowed to pay their respects following her death aged 96 on 8 September.

Vanessa, 45, told The Guardian newspaper: "It was an emotional experience. I was fighting back tears as I approached the coffin and I managed to dignify myself.

“I wanted to do something so I said prayers for the Queen, thanked her for her great service and wished her peace and rest.

"I'm from London so I felt like I was leading the crowd as I was the first in the queue. It's a unique and an historic moment and I wanted to pay my respects so it was well worth waiting for."

She was followed in the queue by Anne Daley, 65, from Cardiff, who admitted it was a "shattering and incredibly upsetting experience".

She added: "It was total silence, you felt like singing Ave Maria, it was that kind of atmosphere. It was just for seconds but the wait was totally worth it.”

Meanwhile, 23-year-old Max Hoene from Germany hailed the late queen as his "idol".

He said: "It was very emotional. She was just one of the most impressive people in history. She was an idol of mine.

"She was such a small person but bigger than all of us. We won’t have anyone like her any more.”

Crowds were heard singing hymns as they began their wait to file past the Queen’s coffin after it arrived at Westminster Hall in a royal procession at 3pm.

The queue to see the casket – made of English oak, lined with lead and designed for the late Queen 30 years ago – is stretching along the banks of the Thames to London Bridge.

Up to a million people are expected to queue for chance to see the Queen at rest.

Government advice has been issued to those enduring marathon waits that could last more than 31 hours includes stock up on snacks, make friends with a “bathroom buddy” and to keep warm as autumn begins.