‘Tens of thousands’ mourners queue overnight in Edinburgh to pay respects to Queen

The Queen is lying in state in Edinburgh’s St Giles Cathedralahead of her final journey to London later today.

Overnight, it's thought that “tens of thousands” of mourners paid their respects for the late Queen, whopassed away on 8 September at the age of 96.

Members of the public started going into the cathedral at about 6pm yesterday, and the procession was temporarily paused to allow theroyal family to take part in a short vigilat about 8pm.

King Charles IIItook his place by his motherQueen Elizabeth II'scoffin at St Giles' Cathedralfor the Vigil of the Princes.

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The new monarch, 73, was joined by his siblingsPrincess Anne, 72,Prince Andrew, 62, and Prince Edward, 58, each positioning themselves in one corner of the casket to "stand guard" in a moving tribute.

The cathedral first let in mourners yesterday and Lord Ian Duncan, the Deputy Speaker in the House of Lords, said crowds along the Royal Mile were “ten-deep”, while the streets surrounding the area were equally crammed with people.

“The sheer quantity of individuals moving into Edinburgh today [indicates] that there will be many tens – possibly even hundreds – of thousands of people who will wish to pay their respects to the late Queen,” He told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Radio National programme.

“That is an extraordinary outpouring of respect, grief, celebration of an extraordinary woman.

“By goodness, they were ten-deep. They had to stop people trying to get there because it would have become dangerous.

“The streets around [the Royal Mile] were crammed and now, as people wait to walk past the coffin itself, the expectation of the numbers and the sheer quantity of humanity in Edinburgh today is extraordinary.”

While many people were warned to expect a 12 hour wait to see the monarch’s coffin at St Giles’ Cathedral, those who queued overnight said their wait-time was five or six hours.

Gavin Hamilton from Edinburgh told PA he was informed upon arrival it would likely be 13 hours before he would have the chance to pay respects to the Queen but it soon became apparent the wait would only be five or six hours.

He made it into the cathedral just before 3am and said: “It took about five and a quarter hours waiting in line to see her.

“There were people in the queue with me who had travelled from Aberdeen, over 100 miles away, to do this. There were thousands of people in line at 12.30am at the start of the queue.

“The people were still [lining up] after 2.50 am when I got into the cathedral.”

Fellow mourner Mitch Stevenson, who queued for just under five hours with his sister, said they were “overwhelmed with the power and emotion of the occasion” after making it into St Giles’ cathedral just after 1am.

The siblings had initially been advised they would likely need to wait 11 hours to see the Queen’s coffin but were not deterred.

“It was a very important occasion for us – we lost our mum earlier this year and she would have loved to have been able to go, so we went for her memory also,” Mr Stevenson told PA.

“We were told [we would need to wait] about 11 hours. We accepted this but later found out it was not the case,” he added. “Some people, including myself, felt it was perhaps a little bit of scaremongering to get the crowd numbers down a bit.”

This week, OK! celebrates the life of Her Majesty the Queen with a commemorative special in honour of Britain’s longest reigning monarch. Be sure to pick up your copy.


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