For all the predictions of heavy rain as Brits queued in line to see the Queen’s coffin, the sun-soaked South Bank today filled up with mourners in good spirits – with thousands staying in line overnight.
The government had warned Brits that well-wishers might have to queue for as long as thirty hours but for these hardy souls that was a small price to pay.
“I am here for the long haul,” said a sprightly Margaret Woolfson, 78, from Birmingham. “I saw her crowned on a 9 inch black and white television. I was in love with her then and I’m in love with her now.
“It’s just so special to be here.”
Woolfson was not the only mourner who felt as if they’d grown up with the Queen over her decades-long reign.
Carey White, 64, from Hertford said he’d seen all the four jubilees in his lifetime – and “wanted to see the lying in state too.”
The queue will be stewarded in part by nearly 1,000 civil service volunteers – one of whom, Ben Harrison, said it was a really positive atmosphere.
“They’ve travelled from far and wide – we’ve met someone from Japan – and are sharing memories to pass time.
“Someone we spoke to had been to coffee with the Queen.”
Some in the queue were still knuckling down with work on laptops – whilst for others, it was a race against time.
Lucie Lowen, 33, from Farnham, had come with her mother to “say goodbye and thank you” to the Queen after 70 years.
“We’re definitely going to stick it out overnight if we have to – although I’ve got to work at 7 in the morning!”