If ever there is an act that sums up the British spirit, it’s the way we approach being in a queue.
The importance of queuing etiquette has never been so clear as during the Queen's lying in state, which led members of the public to line up overnight to catch a glimpse of the coffin.
At times, it appeared that everyone in the country was either in the queue or watching it on television. In fact, at one point there was even a queue for the queue!
Despite announcements across the capital and Twitter, that the line had reached capacity, a steady flow of people continued to queue on the road anyway, forcing staff to reopen the line within 15 minutes of the closure.
While there was a strong sense of camaraderie in the queue – as one Twitter user put it: “If you’re British, this is the queue you’ve been training for all your life" – the nation also turned against ITV's This Morning presenters Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield, who were reporting on the event and therefore able to avoid waiting in the public queue.
The two presenters have explained that they had official access to Westminster Hall as accredited broadcasters and were there "strictly for reporting," according to Willoughby, who added: "Please know that we would never jump a queue."
Watch: Piers Morgan defends Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield over 'jumping the queue'
But almost a week on from the original controversy, the anger is refusing to abate, so why has this caused such a strong reaction?
“There’s a stereotype that Brits ‘love’ to queue, but queuing itself is arguably much more practical than psychological,” explains psychologist Dr Audrey Tang.
“If the mathematics works, a queue is fair. Everyone waiting will be seen," she explains. "As such, there is likely to be an expectation that those in a queue will behave accordingly."
And when that fairness is seemingly challenged, Dr Tang says it is understandable there could be some upset.
“Primally, even in the animal kingdom, animals will react with aggression or apathy if they perceive they are treated unfairly," she explains. "And those seen as getting special treatment without reason are criticised for ‘bad behaviour’."
While Dr Tang says queuing may not be specifically ‘British’, a sense of fairness is certainly part of who we are.
“Thus, people queue jumping – or being seen to be queue jumping – is frowned upon,” she explains.
“This is made worse when it is known that people who could have been given extra privileges fore-went them because of their own sense of fairness and equality.”
Former England captain David Beckham and Good Morning Britain presenter Susanna Reid were among the famous faces who waited several hours to see the Queen lying in state.
While Brits can't claim the monopoly on queuing itself, feeling so strongly about keeping in line does seem to be a particularly British attitude.
"It has been pitched as part of the British identity," explains Dr Rachel Taylor, founder of the Unbroken podcast. "It is meant to signify fairness, equality and order. It was borne from a need to control people in times of crisis such as war and tragedy."
She agrees, therefore, that it is unsurprising that some people react angrily when they see line-skipping.
"We not only see it as an indication of manners but the person's morals and felt elitism," she explains. "If you skip the queue, it can lead many to believe that you think are better than everyone else who had to wait their turn. Therefore anger can be simply symbolic of the anger that people have about elitism and elitist systems in general."
The psychology of the Queen's queue
Of course, not all queues are made equal, and there were some vital differences between this particular one and, for example, this summer’s excessive queues to get through passport control, which could explain the furore.
“For some people, the queue itself was actually immaterial, their focus was to pay their respects," explains Dr Tang.
“For others, the queue itself might have been an unusual moment in history to be part of."
The long line also gave people time for themselves to stop, pause and reflect.
“There was a strong sense of camaraderie too," Dr Tang continues. "People were gathered for the same cause, which gives you something to talk about. The opportunity to share in this way – especially if you were emotionally moved – is always healthy."
Dr Tang points out that sharing with people you do not know can often be done without judgment.
“It is why people often confide in taxi drivers,” she explains. “The queue, very much like that taxi journey, offered a place to bond."
How to keep calm in everyday queues
So, in normal life, when you're not paying respects to the Queen, but instead something as mundane as needing to upgrade your phone, it's easy to let irritation get the better of you. Here are some tips from life coach and author Michelle Elman for staying cool in a queue…
1. Accept the reality. Clock-watching won't make the time go faster. If you can bring things to entertain yourself or engage in a conversation with your queue-mates, the time will often go faster. Spending ages moaning about how long it's taking is just going to make it a more unpleasant experience. If you have decided to be in a queue, accept your decision.
2. Mute the music. If you're in an online queue, turning the volume down or even putting it on mute if you know you are number 100 will help as the music itself can often increase frustration.
3. Be polite. Once actually talking to someone, remember your frustration is about the time waiting and not the person you're speaking to. They're unable to control your waiting time and have likely been on the receiving end of other people's frustration as well, so being rude to them won't help get you a resolution faster.
4. Reward yourself. Focus on the solution you came for and once that's resolved, find another outlet for your frustration like going for a run or a walk in the park. If you have more time, a boxing class after work should do the trick too.