Call me a washed-up 32-year-old GQ freelancer Rory Gilmore, because I’m gazing upon the concept of “long lines” with unremitting fascination. Which long line has caught my attention in particular? No other than the line to see the Queen’s casket on a pedestal called a “catafalque” at Westminster Hall in London, although over there they call it “the Queue.”
To check out the Queen’s closed casket and to get a load of the hunks that comprise the “vigil of units from the Sovereign's Bodyguard, the Household Division or Yeoman Warders of the Tower of London” watching over her body (as Time Out describes it), it’s gonna take some sweat equity. Queueing is open 24 hours a day until Sept. 19, the day of the funeral. Apparently, this is a very British thing: The most enduring British stereotype, besides them being weather-obsessed lushes, is that the Queen’s subjects love to queue!
As of press time, a livestream set up by the British Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport is reporting that the Queue is 4.2 miles long and queueing time is “at least 9 hours.” According to the New York Times, the wait time could be expected to be up to 30 hours from start to finish. The Queue is constantly moving, reportedly at a pace of 0.5 miles per hour as of Thursday afternoon in London, and mourners are not allowed to leave under threat of being thrown in shackles and locked up in the Tower. One journalist at the BBC waited that long as 17th in line, and ultimately spent 90 seconds with the Queen’s coffin.
Right now, the length of the Queue can accommodate mourners for over six miles, but that could get longer as Sept. 19 approaches. Per the Times: “There are plans for the line to loop inside Southwark Park, in South London, accommodating a length of up to 10 miles; the government has said it will turn people away once it judges that they will not have time to reach the coffin.”
In lieu of the Queue, you can also just sign a digital condolence book like I did. I can’t tell you what I said, though. It was about the Queen’s bra, and it was offensive to women.