King Charles III has lauded the UK security services for ensuring tight security at the Queen’s funeral. The king visited police headquarters on Saturday to thank emergency services workers involved in the planning.
London’s police force has described the funeral as the biggest security operation it has ever undertaken as prime ministers, presidents and royals come together and huge crowds throng the streets.
Underscoring the risks, police said one man had been detained and arrested after a witness told Sky News he “ran up to the queen’s coffin”. Footage showed a man being pinned to the ground by police officers and taken away.
By 5 p.m. (1600 GMT), Britain’s culture ministry said the waiting time to reach the lying-in-state was up to 11 hours.
Inside the silent hall, some mourners wept, many were tearful while current soldiers and veterans saluted their former commander-in-chief. Others in the line fell to their knees.
New friendships, acts of kindness and the struggles of standing in line for hours, sometimes in the cold overnight, have come to define what has become known as just “the queue”.
Film-maker Matthew West described how a military man was offered the chance to get to the front but declined. “That was the highlight. The lowlight was when we stood still for two hours and I lost the will to live.”
There has been an outpouring of emotion across the country and 10 days of choreographed events since the queen died at Balmoral in Scotland. Her coffin was at first laid at rest in Edinburgh before being flown south to London.
The queen’s children have described being overwhelmed by the reaction to their mother’s death.
The state funeral, to be attended by nearly 100 presidents and heads of government, is likely to be one of the biggest ceremonial events ever held in Britain.
Soldiers took part in early morning rehearsals in Windsor, where the queen’s coffin will be taken after the funeral at Westminster Abbey. Marching bands playing music and Grenadier Guards, who wear a tall bearskin hat on ceremonial duties, were seen marching down the High Street in preparation.
Liz Kelshall from Leatherhead, southern England, said she had brought her two children to Windsor so they would never forget the queen. “It’s really important for them to grow up and remember this and it’s important for us as a family to come and show some respect for an amazing woman,” she said.