Queen: Royal fans in tears as they pay their respects at coffin
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The first person to see the Queen’s coffin and pay her respects has been revealed, after the 56-year-old waited from Monday for her place in the queue.
She said that while it was a “privilege” to be there, she had “mixed emotions” at the “sad” scene.
Vanessa Nathakumaran, an admin assistant from Harrow, north west London, is the first of what is expected to be up to a million mourners who will queue up for hours in order to share a final moment with Her Majesty.
Ms Nathakumaran told the Mail: “I was trying not to cry. I wanted to pay my respects in a dignified way but it was so hard. There were such mixed emotions.
“It was a privilege to be here but it was so sad and solemn. It was a moment that will live with me forever.
“It was the most memorable and unique moment of my life. It was so quiet and peaceful and seeing her coffin it really came home to me that she is really gone.
“I curtsied when I went past and my eye was drawn to the crown on top of the coffin. I feel shattered.
“At Princess Diana’s funeral I went along and lined the road to pay my respects and signed the book of condolences but this was a much more personal experience. I camped out for two days sleeping on a bench and in the pouring rain but it was worth it. I wanted to be part of the experience and pay my respects.”
Another mourner, Annie Daley, told the publication: “I felt sorrowful being in there with the Queen’s coffin. I found it a shattering experience. The Crown was gleaming atop the coffin, as was the orb and sceptre.
“When we approached the coffin, everyone was silent, it was so, so quiet. I looked round and the Yeoman guards were like statues. We waited for days and when it came to it the whole experience was over in seconds, we went round the coffin once and down the stairs.”
The royal superfans were among thousands of people camping and singing hyms, as well as military veterans who kept themselves awake to avoid creasing their clothes.
King Charles, William and Harry reunited to mourn and march behind the coffin as hundreds of thousands lined the streets of central London, many of them in tears, to watch the coffin make its final journey out of Buckingham Palace at 2.22pm.
From 5pm, members of the public were allowed to see the coffin inside the Palace of Wesminster, as the Queen’s guards look on.
The enormous queue is currently estimated to be around three miles long. The doors will be open for visitors 24 hours a day for the next four days.
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Over 500 portable toilets have been installed along the route for those waiting.
Twitter user @Curiousiguana has lauded the overtly British nature of the queue to see the Queen’s coffin.
They said: “I don’t particularly care either way about the Queen. But the queue? The Queue is a triumph of Britishness. It’s incredible.
“It is the motherlode of queues. It is art. It is poetry. It is the queue to end all queues. It opened earlier today and is already 2.2 miles long. They will close it if it gets to FIVE MILES. That’s a queue that would take TWO HOURS TO WALK at a brisk pace.”
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