‘The Queen would never have believed this’: Moment Prince William shared his ‘amazement’ at the size of the queue during surprise walkabout – and said his grandmother ‘unites everyone, even in death’
- Prince William said the Queen ‘wouldn’t believe’ the queue to see her coffin
- Heir to the throne chatted to mourners waiting to see her in Westminster Hall
- The prince said: ‘Even in death she unites everyone, bringing everyone together’
- The Queen’s funeral: All the latest Royal Family news and coverage
The Queen wouldn’t have believed how many people are queuing to see her lying in state, her grandson Prince William has said.
The Prince of Wales said yesterday his grandmother would be amazed at the number of people queueing for hours to see her coffin in Westminster Hall.
The heir to the throne was speaking to mourners in the queue, saying: ‘This is amazing. She would never believe this.
‘Even in death she unites everyone, bringing everyone together, so I hope you’re all chatting amongst yourselves.’
He told people gathered there it was ‘lovely to see you’.
The Prince of Wales has thanked mourners queuing 14 hours to see the Queen’s coffin lying-in-state at the Palace of Westminster on a surprise walkabout alongside his father King Charles III – after shaking hands and talking to royal fans.
The Queen wouldn’t believe how many people are queuing to see her lying in state the queue, her grandson Prince William said yesterday
The heir to the throne mentioned it as he was speaking to mourners lined up in the queue yesterday
Speaking to a woman in the queue he said: ‘She would never believe this. Even in death she unites everyone, bringing everyone together’
Prince William and Britain’s new monarch greeted hundreds of people along the South Bank near Lambeth Bridge in London ahead of the Queen’s state funeral on Monday, to cheers of ‘hip hip hooray’ and ‘God Save the King’ as they passed by.
Many took photographs and pressed against the metal barriers, eager to exchange a word with the King and the heir to the throne as they shook hands with those closest.
William later thanked royal fans for queueing for 14 hours to pay their respects to his grandmother, tweeting: ‘It mean an awful lot that you’re all here’.
One lady offered Charles condolences as he shook her hand, and another shouted: ‘I can’t believe this’ – while a third presented the two royals with a Paddington Bear toy, in reference to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee sketch with the beloved children’s character.
As the prince shook the hands of mourners, he said: ‘It means an awful lot you’re here. She [the Queen] would never believe this. You’ll make some friends for life [those who have met in crowd’.
Revealing that his wife Kate Middleton and children George, Charlotte and Louis were ‘ok’ and ‘all united in grief’, William also said that he became emotional seeing his grandmother’s corgis, adding: ‘They are being looked after – they have gone to a very good home’.
Several people cried after meeting the Prince of Wales, and one woman told him: ‘You’ll be a brilliant king one day’.
Members of the public view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, lying in state on the catafalque in Westminster Hall
People queue to pay their respects to the Queen lying in state at Westminster Hall in the capital
The late monarch’s casket will remain in the Palace of Westminster until 6.30am tomorrow, ahead of the state funeral in Westminster Abbey.
Officials discouraged people from joining the five-mile queue winding its way along the banks of the Thames to Southwark Park.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport tweeting at 1pm: ‘Queuing time is at least 13 hours.
‘A decision will be taken today on final queue closure time. To avoid disappointment please do not set off to join the queue.’
People started queueing at Southwark Park today so they could pay their respects to the late monarch
Members of the public at the end of the queue in Southwark Park in London had a long journey ahead of them
Members of the public, some wrapped in blankets, waited in the queue in the early hours opposite St Paul’s Cathedral today
Members of the public stand in the queue in the early hours of the morning, near Tower Bridge in London
A Government source warned: ‘We don’t want people to make long journeys only to find it closed. We will give people as much notice as possible so they can avoid disappointment.
‘We are monitoring the numbers incredibly closely to make a judgement on final capacity. We have always said we will need to close the queue well in advance of the Lying-in-State ending.’
As of 5am, the DCMS online tracker said the estimated queuing time was at least 12 hours – far shorter than the peak of more than 25 hours that was seen in the early hours of yesterday morning. The wait time increased to at least 14 hours by 10am.
The London Ambulance Service said it treated 368 patients along the route yesterday, with 55 taken to hospital.
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