The Queen’s lying in state has entered its first full day, with mourners braving lengthy queues for the chance to file past the late monarch’s coffin.
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to walk through the ancient hall of Westminster Palace after the doors opened to the public at 5pm on Wednesday.
It will stay open for four full days until 6.30am on Monday – the day of her funeral.
There are predictions the line could stretch for up to 10 miles with waits of up to 30 hours to get into Westminster Hall.
However, as of 5am on Thursday it was 2.1 miles long – stretching to Southwark Bridge.
Sky News reporter Olive Enokido-Lineham waited six hours to enter the palace, suggesting wait times are much shorter than initially feared.
Police officers, volunteers, and stewards are managing the queue, while toilets and water fountains are being provided at various points along the route.
People waiting in line are being given a coloured and numbered wristband to prevent any queue jumping, and to allow them to leave for short periods, such as to get food.
Rehearsals for funeral take place overnight as King takes day for reflection
Rehearsals have been taking place overnight for the Queen’s funeral.
Members of the military could be seen in Westminster carrying a stand-in coffin, ahead of Monday’s state funeral.
King Charles has returned to his Highgrove home in Gloucestershire. He will have a private day of reflection and is not expected to attend any public events.
In the detailed planning for the aftermath of the Queen’s death – known as Operation London Bridge – a day was set aside at this point for the new monarch to have some time away from public duties.
The period will allow the King to pause, but it is understood he will be working in preparation for his new role and will already be receiving his red boxes of state papers.
Elsewhere, King’s Counsel will take part in wreath laying after the death of the Queen.
Senior barristers, now known as KCs instead of QCs after the proclamation of the King, have been invited to dress in robes and court mourning attire.
They will then gather outside the Old Bailey before walking to Gray’s Inn Chapel for the ceremony.
Meghan postpones celebratory event
Meanwhile, Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, has postponed a celebratory event she was due to attend as a woman of honour, as well as the release of her podcast, out of respect for the Queen.
Meghan was selected alongside other high-profile women, including Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey and Malala, as part of US outlet Variety’s Power of Women event.
The honourees will feature on the cover of the publication’s Power of Women special edition, with an event taking place on Wednesday, 28 September.
“Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, was chosen as one of one of this year’s stellar honorees,” Variety said.
“The Duchess’ cover will be postponed to a later date, out of respect for the recent passing of Queen Elizabeth II.
“Similarly, she will not attend the Power of Women event in Los Angeles later this month.”
Meghan’s podcast, Archetypes, will also not be released during the duration of the mourning period for the Queen.
Among her fellow honourees was US talk show host Oprah Winfrey, who conducted the explosive interview with Harry and Meghan in March 2021.
Speaking recently at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), Winfrey said she hoped the Queen’s death will allow the royal family to come together and provide “an opportunity for peacemaking”.
The royals were reunited as they joined a procession behind the Queen as she left Buckingham Palace for the final time on Wednesday.
King Charles, the Prince of Wales and Duke of Sussex accompanied the monarch on the journey to Westminster Hall for her lying in state. The Queen Consort, Princess of Wales, Countess of Wessex and Duchess of Sussex travelled by car.