#QueueForTheQueen: 5 women on why they’re going to see the Queen lying-in-state

Written by Lauren Geall

As Stylist’s digital writer, Lauren Geall writes on topics including mental health, wellbeing and women’s issues. She’s also a big fan of houseplants and likes to dabble in film and TV from time-to-time. You can find her on Twitter at @laurenjanegeall.

Despite the hours-long wait, thousands of people have made their way to London to see the Queen lying in state and pay their respects. Here, five women explain why they’ve made the journey to Westminster Hall.

The queue to see Queen Elizabeth II lying in state has continued to grow ever since the doors to Westminster Hall were opened yesterday afternoon.

Following a grand procession from Buckingham Palace, Her Majesty’s coffin has been placed on display in the hall for members of the public to visit and pay their respects. It will remain there for viewing until 6:30am on Monday, before the Queen’s funeral begins at 11am.

At time of writing, the queue to see the coffin is currently 4.2 miles long. But with reports suggesting that some mourners could have to wait up to 30 hours to get their moment inside Westminster Hall, those joining the queue are facing an extended wait. 

However, spirits remain high – with the hashtag #QueueForTheQueen now trending on social media as people make the most of their time in line.

Below, we spoke to five women who made the decision to join the queue about why they wanted to see the Queen lying in state, and what the opportunity to pay their respects means to them.  

  • Kirsty, 29, from Bedford

    Kirsty, 29, saw the chance to attend the Queen’s lying-in-state as a “once-in-a-lifetime experience”.

    “I decided to go and see the Queen lying in state because she is the only monarch I have grown up with. Whether it was because she was a woman or because of how long she had been doing her job, I felt like showing my respect was a once-in-a-lifetime experience I had to grasp. 

    “I’ve grown up seeing so many special and monumental aspects of the Royal Family – weddings, funerals, family spats – so I, like so many, feel like I ‘know’ them a bit and feel able to connect with them during this time, beacuse, at the end of the day, they’re simply a family going through grief.”

  • Ranbir, from Solihull

    Ranbir travelled from Solihull to pay her respects.

    “I came down from Birmingham on the 6am train with my husband and son to pay our respects. I wanted to come along as I have admired the Queen for a long time – she has been the only monarch I know and will probably be the only female monarch in the UK in my lifetime.

    “I feel really privileged to be able to say thank you and goodbye.”

  • Rachel, 30, from Highbury

    Rachel says she found the Queen to be an “inspiring” figure.

    “I felt going to see the Queen lie-in-state was a unique opportunity to say thank you and goodbye to a woman who is not only the second longest reigning monarch in world history (which is impressive on any level) but someone who, despite her distance from us, always seemed like a constant in our lives, and could inspire and energise us with even the briefest of public appearances. 

    “As someone who would love to balance a career and a family one day in the future, the Queen’s ability to act as a hugely valuable diplomatic force for the benefit of the United Kingdom, and then embody all the characteristics of a loving and supporting mother to a large family, is incredibly inspiring to me.

    “It also feels like the end of an era – I’m 30 years old, and with the next three people in the line of succession all being men, I’m unlikely to ever see a Queen on the British throne again. I couldn’t pass up on this chance to pay my respects on such a historic occasion, and I’m sure it’s something I’ll be telling stories about in decades to come.”

  • Lucy, 34, from Essex

    Lucy says she has known “for years” she wanted to see the Queen lying in state if possible.

    “I travelled down from Essex yesterday to see the procession and then queue. I knew for years that I wanted to be present for her funeral and, if I was able to, to see her lying in state. It was important to me because I have a great deal of respect for the Queen. She took on a role which she never expected to have to do but which she did with complete dedication.

    “I think the fact she was a woman made her more relatable to the public. She was a working mother who had children, she showed her emotion to the nation and I think she gave a softer side to the monarchy. She was also very strong and educated and when she came into power it was a time when political positions were dominated by men – but she didn’t let that intimidate her.” 

  • Lauren, 27, from Bracknell

    Lauren and her partner four hours into the queue.

    “I’ve always thought that I’d like to attend the lying in state when the Queen eventually passed, and since I’ve ended up living so close to London it was an easy decision to go.

    “I just think she was an amazing and inspirational lady, and in some ways, a feminist icon. From the point of view of a very young child in the 90s who didn’t understand how the government worked yet, it was great to see a woman in the top job. 

    “For all her privilege, she was also always in service of others, even as a young woman determined to do her bit during the war.  I think she deserves everyone’s thanks and respect after working full-time in the service of Britain and the Commonwealth until the day she died. Politically I’m left-leaning, but I’ve never been anti-monarchy because I like that it means we have politically neutral representatives. You wouldn’t get that with an elected head of state. To me, it was a chance to say thank you. After 70+ years of service, what’s six hours in a queue?”

Main image: Getty

Other images: supplied by contributors

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