“You are the last person in the queue.”
Just eight words – bringing joy to some, and disappointment to others.
As the queue to view the Queen’s coffin lying in state closed on Sunday night, there were mixed emotions for the people who had rushed to join the end of the line.
A steward approached a woman, handing out a final wristband and informing her she was the last person in what had become a 14-hour moving monument to Queen Elizabeth II.
“Oh bless you,” she replied as a round of applause went up. “Well done,” he said.
But for those standing behind her, there was a palpable sense of deflation.
One woman who had been waiting for two hours, standing just behind the final queuer, told Sky News she was “absolutely gutted”.
“We went the wrong way. If we had gone the right way, we would have made it.”
Hundreds of thousands of people have made the steady pilgrimage across central London to pay their respects to the late monarch over the past four days. People have come from around the city to see the queue itself.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said after 10.30pm on Sunday that the last people had been admitted to the queue to see the Queen’s coffin at Westminster Hall.
The department said: “The queue to attend Her Majesty The Queen’s lying in state is at final capacity and is now closed to new entrants. Please do not attempt to join the queue.
“Stewards will manage those already nearby. Thank you for your understanding.”
The announcement had been expected throughout the day on Sunday as waiting times hit a peak of 14 hours at 10am.
By 9pm the waiting time was seven hours as the last crowds filed through, with people collecting wristbands for entry at London Bridge.
The final mourner will view the coffin at 6.30am on Monday ahead of the state funeral.
With Press Association