Queen Elizabeth II mourners from across the country queue in South London

By Robert Firth, Local Democracy Reporter

Mourners have been queueing along the South Bank and across South London since early this morning as they hope to see the Queen’s coffin at the Palace of Westminster.

People have travelled to catch a last glimpse of the coffin when it arrives at Westminster Hall at around 5.30pm today.

Officials had warned that the queue to see the Queen’s coffin could stretch over four miles long from the Houses of Parliament to Southwark Park, in Bermondsey.

But the line of people paying tribute to the Queen has so far been considerably smaller, reaching just past the Southbank Centre by mid-afternoon on Wednesday.

People queueing in Jubilee Gardens on the South Bank (Picture: Robert Firth)

One of the mourners, Kelley Craig, travelled from Rainham in Essex early this morning to make it in the queue by 9.30am.

The 51-year-old had come draped in a Union Flag to pay her final respects to the monarch, who died on September 8 aged 96.

She said: “It’s the last chance to say hello and goodbye. I would have kicked myself if I hadn’t come down. I’ve come on my own and I’m paying respects on behalf of all my family.

“The Queen was England to me. She was someone to look up to – the ultimate British chick; the ultimate symbol of girl power.

“There has been no rain so far and everybody here is lovely. I’m hoping to see the Queen by nineish tonight. I’ve got a lot of supplies with me to keep me going: spaghetti bolognese, garlic bread and cherry Pepsi.”

Further down the queue behind County Hall, Nathan Bristow had also travelled down to London solo to see the coffin. The 21-year-old stonemason from Windsor, Berkshire said he admired the Queen’s commitment to good causes.

He said: “I came to pay my respects. She was an inspiration. She cared for things that are important for us, like the environment. She was so steadfast in her faith, which I think is testament to her.

“I turned on the TV at around 2pm on Thursday when we first heard about the concerns for her health and I didn’t turn it off all day. I’m not working today so I thought I’ve got no excuse not to come down and see her.”

Nearby, Roxanne Smith travelled down to London from Ipswich, Suffolk this morning to pay her respects. The 39-year-old had befriended Jane Painter, 67, from Fareham, Hampshire in the queue.

Ms Painter said: “It’s part of history and we’re going to miss her a lot. It’s the dawning of a new age. We don’t really know how long we’re going to be waiting before seeing her but we’re prepared to stay all night. We’re staying as long as it takes.

“The Queen has given more to this country than just about anybody. She’s a fine example of sacrifice and devotion.”

Ms Smith added: “The Queen represented all that was British really. She was everything. I was worried it was going to be really manic here but the queue has been nice so far. It’s quite chill.”

Pictured top: Roxanne Smith from Ipswich, Suffolk with Jane Painter from Fareham, Hampshire in the queue (Picture: Robert Firth)

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