Man arrested after ‘disturbing’ as line swells for Britain’s Queen

Thousands of people spent London’s coldest night in months lining up to see Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin, and authorities warned on Saturday that arriving mourners would have to wait 24 hours.

Police arrested a man after what the force described as a “disorder” Friday night in Parliament’s Westminster Hall, where the coffin of Britain’s Queen lies in state, draped in her royal standard and wearing a diamond-studded crown.

Parliamentary authorities said someone got out of the queue and tried to approach the coffin on its platform.

The Metropolitan Police Force said a man had been arrested on an alleged public order offence.

The tide of people wanting to say their goodbyes to the Queen has grown steadily since the public was first admitted to the hall on Wednesday. On Friday, authorities temporarily stopped allowing more visitors to the end of the line, which meanders around Southwark Park about 8km from Parliament.

Overnight, volunteers handed out blankets and cups of tea to people in line as the temperature dropped to 6C.

People came for myriad reasons, from affection for the Queen to a desire to be a part of a historic moment.

Simon Hopkins, traveling from his home in central England, likened it to “a pilgrimage”.

“(It) is a little bit weird because it kind of goes against the grain for me,” he said. “I kind of got sucked into it.”

The public continued to pour into Westminster Hall in silence even as the Queen’s four children – King Charles III, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward – stood guard around the flag-draped coffin for 15 minutes on Friday night. A baby’s cry was the only sound.

Before the vigil, Edward said the royal family was “overwhelmed by the tide of emotion that has engulfed us and the sheer number of people who have gone out of their way to express their own love, admiration and respect (for) our love.” to express mom. ”

All eight of Queen Elizabeth II’s grandchildren are set to stand guard next to her coffin on Saturday. Charles’ sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, will attend along with Princess Anne’s children, Zara Tindall and Peter Philips; the daughters of Prince Andrew, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie; and Prince Edward’s two children – Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn.

William, who is now heir to the throne following the death of his grandmother, will stand at the head of the coffin and Harry at the foot. Both princes, who are military veterans, will be in uniform.

Most senior royals hold honorary military positions and have worn uniforms to commemorate the Queen. Harry, who served as a British Army officer in Afghanistan, wore civilian clothes during the procession of the Queen’s coffin from Buckingham Palace because he is no longer a working member of the royal family. He and his wife Meghan quit their royal duties and moved to the United States in 2020.

However, the King has required both William and Harry to wear their military uniforms at the vigil at Westminster Hall.

The people who lined up to see the Queen were of all ages and walks of life. Many bowed before the coffin or made the sign of the cross. Several veterans, their medals glistening in the headlights, gave a sharp salute. Some people cried. Many hugged each other as they walked away, proud of having spent hours in line to offer a tribute, even if it was only moments.

Mourners on Friday also included former England soccer captain David Beckham, who queued for almost 12 hours to pay his respects. Dressed in a white shirt and black tie, he bowed briefly in front of the coffin before exiting Westminster Hall.

“We were fortunate as a nation to have someone who guided us as Her Majesty guided us for the time, with kindness, caring and always reassurance,” Beckham told reporters afterwards.

The state of affairs is expected to continue until Monday morning, when the Queen’s coffin is taken to nearby Westminster Abbey for a state funeral, the finale of 10 days of national mourning for Britain’s longest-reigning monarch. Elizabeth, 96, died on September 8 at her Balmoral estate in Scotland after 70 years on the throne.

Hundreds of heads of state, royals and political leaders from around the world are flying to London to attend the funeral, including US President Joe Biden and Japanese Emperors Naruhito and Empress Masako.

After the service at the Abbey, the coffin of the late Queen is transported on a horse-drawn carriage through the historic heart of London. It will then be taken in a hearse to Windsor, where the Queen will be buried alongside her husband Prince Philip, who died last year.

Hundreds of soldiers from the British Army, Air Force and Navy took part in an early morning rehearsal for the final train on Saturday. As troops lined the Long Walk, a scenic path leading to Windsor Castle, the pounding of drums echoed into the night as brass bands walked in front of a hearse.

London Police said the funeral will be the largest single police event the force has ever handled, surpassing even the 2012 Summer Olympics and the Platinum Jubilee in June to celebrate the Queen’s 70th anniversary.

“The range of officers, police personnel and everyone supporting the operation is really immense,” said Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Cundy. Man arrested after ‘disturbing’ as line swells for Britain’s Queen

Fry Electronics Team

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