About a quarter of a million people queued for up to 17 hours to see the Queen’s coffin as it lay in state at Westminster Hall.
The figures were revealed by Michelle Donelan, the UK culture secretary, after the nation’s longest-reigning monarch was buried at Windsor Castle on Monday.
Donelan said her department was still “crunching the numbers” to calculate how many people had queued for hours in London to view the Queen’s coffin at Westminster Hall, but that she believed the figure to be about 250,000.
The royal family is observing another week of mourning for the Queen after a state funeral on Monday, with the ceremony and procession having been watched by millions of people around the world.
Donelan said that most British people would view the cost of the Queen’s funeral as “money well spent”, but that she could not put a figure on what that cost was.
When asked on Sky News about the cost of the funeral, she said: “I’m not sure of the exact costings, but as I say, I think the British public would argue that that was money well spent.
“You saw so many thousands out there and I don’t think anybody can suggest that our late monarch didn’t deserve that send-off, given the duty and the selfless service that she committed to over 70 years.” She added that it would be “downright preposterous” to suggest otherwise.
“It was great sense of the community coming together. I always think of our late monarch as the glue that brought society together,” she added.
Donelan described the queue for Westminster Hall as “phenomenal”, as she paid tribute to the volunteers who helped manage and support the proceedings of recent days, including the lying in state.
She told BBC Breakfast: “There’s no dress rehearsal, is there, for this kind of scenario? It has been in the plans for years, but obviously we stress-tested everything and worked with community groups.”
She praised the help of Samaritans, the Red Cross, the police and establishments across the South Bank that opened their doors to those queueing.
“It was a real team effort to enable people to have that moment to say goodbye and I want to pay tribute to everybody that was involved – all the volunteers, all the marshals, the stewards … it was incredible.”
The Queen’s funeral at Westminster Abbey was attended by hundreds of heads of state, and with London full with mourners the event called for the largest policing operation undertaken by the Metropolitan police.
Among the 2,000-strong congregation at the abbey were foreign royalty, notable UK figures and world leaders including the US president, Joe Biden, and the French president, Emmanuel Macron.