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Queen's Coffin Has Arrived At Westminster Hall For Lying-In-State

The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II being carried to Westminster Hall (Alamy)

3 min read

Queen Elizabeth II's coffin has arrived at Westminster Hall on the parliamentary estate where hundreds of thousands of people are preparing to pay their respects over a five-day Lying-in-State.

The procession, which was followed by King Charles III and his sons Princes William and Harry, arrived at Westminster Hall at around 3pm having made its way from Buckingham Palace via The Mall and Whitehall. 

Prime Minister Liz Truss, who was sworn in by the Queen two days before her death last week was in attendance to greet the coffin as it arrived at Parliament's most ancient building.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby conducted a service in the old hall before the Lying-In-State begins.

Mourners will be able to enter Westminster Hall to see the coffin from 5pm today until 6:30am on Monday, before the Queen's funeral takes place at nearby Westminster Abbey.

The Queen's coffin will be displayed in Parliament's Westminster Hall on a raised platform, known as a catafalque, for 24 hours a day during the five-day period, and guarded throughout.

Over 750,000 people are expected to queue in central London to see the coffin. This would comfortably be the largest number of people to ever visit a Lying-In-State in the UK. An estimated 200,000 people came to visit the Queen Mother's coffin when the last Lying-in-State took place in 2002.

On Tuesday evening, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport published a map showing the official route of the queue, as well as details for those planning to join it.

The route is nearly 10 miles in length, following the River Thames past the London Eye, Tate Modern and London Bridge, and ending with a zig zag in Southwark Park.

The government has advised those planning to visit the Lying-in-State, expected to include people who have travelled to London from abroad, that they'll likely queue for many hours and possibly overnight.

Over 1,000 police officers, volunteers and stewards will be on hand, while facilities like toilets and water fountains will be available to those in the queue. Cafes, restaurants and businesses nearby are also expected to be allowed to stay open longer than usual to serve those waiting in line.

A Lying-In-State is a rare and historic event in this country. The last time it happened was 20 years ago, in 2002, when the Queen Mother died. 

William Ewart Gladstone, the former prime minister, was the first person to be given a lying in state when he died in 1898, while over 300,000 people lined up around Westminster to see the coffin of Sir William Churchill, the wartime prime minister, at his Lying-In-State in 1965. 

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