Sept. 20 (BP) — Britons turned out by the hundreds of thousands in London to pay tribute to Queen Elizabeth II as she was lying in state for several days after her death, officials say.
Large crowds began to descend on Westminster Hall beginning last Wednesday to walk past the queen’s casket. At one point, organizers stopped mourners from joining the long line because the wait time exceeded 12 hours. The line was later reopened but the long wait remained until the last person made it inside.
On Tuesday, British culture secretary Michelle Donelan said a total of about 250,000 people joined the line and walked past the queen’s casket inside Westminster Hall.
Donelan said her department is still working on the final figures, but noted that she’s confident the total will top a quarter-million. The total cost is also being assessed.
“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,” Donelan said according to The Guardian.
Officials estimate that hundreds of thousands more turned out on Monday for the queen’s funeral procession through London and to its final destination at Windsor Castle about 20 miles away.
The office of London Mayor Sadiq Khan estimates that there were about 80,000 people in Hyde Park, 75,000 in ceremonial viewing areas and 60,000 on South Carriage Drive. Those figures alone add up to more than 200,000 people.
Thames Valley Police estimate that at least 100,000 people stood along the procession route on Monday to bid the queen farewell.