World Officials temporarily close long line in London to view...

Officials temporarily close long line in London to view Queen Elizabeth II’s casket after wait time exceeds 14 hours

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Sept. 16 (BP) — So many people are turning out to view Queen Elizabeth II’s casket as she lies in state that officials on Friday temporarily paused the long line when the wait time exceeded about 14 hours.

Thousands of Britons have been lining up and walking past the queen’s casket since it was placed at London’s historic Westminster Hall on Wednesday.

On Friday, the British government said it decided to pause the line for several hours after it reached capacity, mainly to keep it from getting longer and forcing people to wait for long periods to get into Westminster Hall.

Britain’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport advised Britons to avoid the line until it became shorter later on Friday.

“Southwark Park has reached capacity,” the department said in a tweet. “Entry will be paused for at least six hours. We are sorry for any inconvenience.”

The queue to pay respects to Elizabeth II has been growing since it first formed on Wednesday. On Thursday, officials and a real-time tracker on YouTube said the line, which runs through London’s Southwark Park, had grown to more than 4 miles long.

By noon BST on Friday, the tracker said the wait was just under 13 hours.

British officials are seeking to assure the public, however, that everyone who wants to see the queen’s casket and pay tribute will have the opportunity to do so.

Britain has been in mourning since the queen died a week ago at the age of 96. She’d spent 70 years on the throne and was succeeded there by her son, King Charles III.

Meanwhile, Buckingham Palace said on Friday that the queen’s eight grandchildren will attend a 15-minute vigil around her casket on Saturday, with Prince William and Prince Harry in uniform. Joining them will be Zara Tindall, Peter Philips, Beatrice and Eugenie, Lady Louise and Viscount Severn.

Also Friday, Charles visited Wales for the first time as king, completing the tradition of the new monarch traveling to all four countries of the United Kingdom after they ascend to the throne. He’d already visited England, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

In Wales, he and the queen consort attended a prayer and reflection service at the Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff.

Later, Charles was scheduled to attend an event at the Senedd in Cardiff Bay and greet the public on the grounds of Cardiff Castle. Hundreds of people lined up to get inside and see the new king.

Like London, Cardiff’s council cautioned that visitors will experience a long wait to enter the grounds.

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