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Queen Elizabeth II Lying-in-State: Mourners wait 14 hrs in 16-km queues to file past coffin

A million visitors are queuing up to attend the longest-reigning Queen Elizabeth II Lying-in-State, making history; while a galaxy of world leaders land in London for the State funeral at Westminster Abbey at 11 am (3:30 pm IST) on Monday. It will be a huge gathering of world leaders never seen before. King Charles III hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace for them on Sunday evening. There were 500 dignitaries.

The queue from Southwark Park touches Tower bridge, London bridge, Southwark bridge, Millennium bridge, Blackfriars bridge, Waterloo bridge and Westminster bridge before crossing the Lambeth bridge to enter a zig-zag near the entrance.

The BBC gave a calculation of the length of the queue. The distance from Westminster to Southwark Park, the starting point of the queue, is 11 km. Then there is the zig-zag section of nearly 5 km to rough in. So the queue is meandering slowly up towards Westminster for a total of 16 km! (which in theory becomes a constant). Although, 16 km is quite a lot for standing and moving without any chance to cool your legs for a moment. "Very little opportunity to sit down as the queue will be continuously moving” - the Government itself cautioned a swelling stream of mourners pouring into London from across the kingdom day and night. The time taken can easily be 14 hours! Yet the determination keeps everyone fit as a fiddle.

The calculation doesn't take into account a queue to join the queue that has come up and the last-minute doubling of the official queue into a double lane.

The masses in the queues looked extremely solemn and serious too and displayed an amazing natural discipline that illustrated a national character evolved partly from a thousand years of democratic tradition.

LONDON, Sept 18: Biggest-ever security arrangements were put in place in London as a stream of Heads of State and Government, like US President Joe Biden, and royals and other dignitaries from across the world began landing in the city since Saturday to participate in Queen Elizabeth II's funeral on Monday at 11 am (3:30 pm IST). Around 2,000 guests are expected who will be seated in Westminster Abbey, the venue for the State funeral, by 8 am. King Charles III and Prime Minister Liz Truss were scheduled to meet the top leaders separately on Saturday-Sunday. On Sunday evening Charles hosted a reception for them at Buckingham Palace. There were 500 dignitaries.

Meanwhile, the long queues of commoners that began swelling by the hour since Wednesday evening has broken the Guinness World Records. Nearly a million visitors will have filed past the coffin by the end of time or that is the capacity for which only arrangements had been made!

Britons are displaying exemplary fortitude in enduring the grueling journey standing 12 to 14 hours day or night in unending queues wanting to pay respects to the departed Queen lying-in-state.

Shuffling along the streets of London, it appeared uncertain on Sunday if most visitors desiring to come will make it, missing out an experience of a lifetime, attending the Monarch lying-in-state.

The mourners in line are roughing it for the toughest time braving the cold nights standing in queues for over 12 hours on an average, old and young alike, from far and near, having come for a last glimpse of their beloved Queen 'waiting' in the people's house, the centuries old Westminster Hall, before Her Majesty moves into her final resting place at Wintsor Castle alongside her Prince Consort.

Southwark Park is the entry point for the queue. Queues systematically wind through a zig-zag section and along the Thames bank passing the Lambeth Bridge (see image).

Unusual for Westerners, the mourners united in purpose were seen at places chit-chatting as they willingly embraced the ordeal. Those were positive expressions. No complaints.

People talking to one another, asking where did they hail from, connecting with people walking past slowly, on their own, disciplined, absolute silence, orderly movement, without need for cops to utter a word! Even inside the Hall they behaved themselves, they could take their own time, if they wanted. There was pindrop silence as everyone bowed one's head in reverence. It was history in the making.

30 things you didn’t know about Queen Elizabeth!

The mourners came prepared, dressed to face any weather. On Saturday too like the previous day, queues lengthened to full capacity and it was overwhelming at Southwark Park, the entry point. It was estimated a visitor joining the queue at Southwark Park took 12 hours on an average to reach the entrance. On Sunday the stream of visitors to London only mounted. As the entrance will close at 6:30 am Monday, joining the queue after 6 pm Sunday will invite only disappointment.

A Government website said, "this is a journey with very little opportunity to sit down as the queue will be continuously moving”.

It was cloudy on Sunday morning at 8 and the temperature was 11 deg C. The night before was colder. How did the multitudes manage. According to BBC, blankets were distributed.

King Charles and Prince William had an unscheduled meeting with mourners in the queue at points like Lambeth bridge, south London, on Saturday. King Charles shook their hands. Several people cried after meeting Prince William, BBC reported.

Some Do's & Don'ts

Authorities had on Saturday warned the public not to undertake travel to join the queue as the wait time stretched beyond 14 hours standing. Visitors were told better not to bring children.

According to Daily Telegraph, the visitors are given a coloured wrist band bearing a number that helps them to leave the line to go to portaloos or for refreshments if they want and get back to their slot.

There are 500 portable toilets and eight first aid stations run by St John Ambulance along the route.

Around a 1,000 cops have been drawn to London from across the Kingdom to help the Scotland Yard, the city police, to assist the public.

The British Film Institute (BFI) has set up an outdoor screen showing footage from the archives of Queen's life for the those in the queues.

The Government had already warned the people about the physical endurance.

More than 700 people had fallen sick in the queue and had to be treated by paramedics, till Saturday.

Before reaching the security check at the Victoria Tower Gardens at the Palace of Westminster, any food or liquid thay may have must be consumed or disposed of. Flasks and water bottles must be emptied. A small bag of size up to 40 cm x 30 cm x 20 cm, with one simple opening or zip is allowed in. However, there is a bag drop facility before check point. Checking is very strict.

No photography is allowed. Flowers, candles etc can be dropped at an identified tribute area beforehand. That is near Green Park.

No weapons, blankets etc are allowed. One should be ready to spend the night in the queue.

David Beckham in queue

Renowned soccer star David Beckham preferred to take his turn waiting in line with the rest of the country's mourners. Beckham was seen in line on Friday morning. He waited for more than 12 hours to reach the Queen.

Grateful King Charles and Prince William met some mourners in the queue and shook hands, on Saturday.

Entry to the queues was blocked by authorities on Friday as they were snaking beyond an unmanageable 8 km at 10 in the morning (IST 2:30 pm Friday), taking 14 hours to reach the entrance. New visitors were not allowed for at least six hours. They were told to be prepared to spend the night standing in queue.

"Entry (to the queue) will be paused for at least 6 hours. Please do not attempt to join the queue until it re-opens," the Government's culture department said on Twitter.

Lying-in-State

The longest-reigning Queen Elizabeth II who died on September 8 was the oldest monarch at 96. She was on the throne for over 70 years.

The coffin is placed on a catafalque and draped in the Royal Standard, with the Orb and Sceptre placed on top.

The Queen’s four children - King Charles III, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, will be present at the funeral.

The opening of lying in state was attended by the new British Prime Minister Liz Truss and Labour Party Opposition leader Keir Starmer.

The new Prince of Wales and heir to the throne, Prince William, and his brother Duke of Sussex Prince Harry and other royals stood vigil at the Queen's coffin on Saturday evening. Charles and the Queen Consort did so on Friday.

Prince Harry and Prince Andrew were given permission to wear military uniform for the vigil. He had relinquished royal functions a few years back over the scandal relating to Jeffrey Epstein.

The tradition of Lying-in-State for monarchs began in 1910 with Edward VII, who lay-in-state in Westminster Hall. Three lakh visitors had lined up day and night in bitter cold to file past the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II's father George VI. Elizabeth the Queen Mother lay in state, in 2002. Prince Philip, Elizabeth II's consort, opted out; he died in 2021. Some Prime Ministers like Winston Churchill also lay-in-state in Westminster Hall.

A national minute's silence is held across the UK on Sunday at 20:00. A prayer service will be held at the Kelpies, near Falkirk.

Buckingham Palace said five prime ministers held audiences with the King on Saturday afternoon. They were Jacinda Ardern, PM of New Zealand, Australian leader Anthony Albanese, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, The Bahamas' PM Philip Davis, and the PM of Jamaica Andrew Holiness.

The funeral

Queen Elizabeth II's funeral is the first state funeral in the UK since Winston Churchill’s in 1965.

The lying-in-state in Westminster Hall ends 6:30 am Monday and the Hall will be closed. At 10:44 am the coffin will be placed on the gun carriage and moved to nearby Westminster Abbey at 10.52 am. Pall bearers will lift the coffin from the carriage and carry to Abbey. Doors will open at 8 am to allow guests like Biden take their seats.

Heads of state and overseas Government representatives, including foreign royal families, Governors-General and realm Prime Ministers will gather initially at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, and travel under “collective arrangements” to Westminster Abbey, Independent said. Royals other than those in procession will also take their seats early.

All others like MPs and those from the realms and the Commonwealth will form the congregation, about 2,000 people, who will also be seated at 8 am.

A life of duty

At 11 am the funeral service will begin. It will be attended by world leaders and the royal family members present. Funeral will be conducted by Dean of Westminster. Prime minister Liz Truss and the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth are both expected to give readings at the service.

At 11:55 Last Post is played and then a national two-minute silence will follow. The service ends with a piper playing at 12 noon.

Then, starting at midday, the bearer party will lift the coffin from the catafalque and place on the State Gun Carriage of the Royal Navy which will stop at Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner, at around 1 pm. There the coffin will be transferred on to the State hearse and driven to Windsor Castle. It will arrive at Windsor Castle at 3.06 pm. Then starts a walking procession up Windsor Castle's Long Walk, about 5 km. The King and other royals join the cortege in the Quadrangle in a procession for the committal service at St George's Chapel.

The three processions

(So there are three processions for the funeral. The first is a short one from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey for the official State funeral service; then from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch in State Gun Carriage of the Royal Navy; here the coffin is transferred to the State Hearse for the onward journey to Windsor Castle. The third procession is within the Castle premises, to St George's Chapel.)

After a ceremony at 4 pm in St George’s Chapel, the coffin will be lowered into the Royal Vault.

Queen's coffin will be reunited with Prince Philip’s

At 7:30 pm Queen Elizabeth II's coffin will be reunited with the her husband of 70 years, Duke of Edinburgh Prince Consort Philip’s coffin and they both will be interred in the King George VI Memorial Chapel (of the Queen's father) in a private service. Prince Philip is currently resting in the Royal vault.

(A chapel is a small place of worship which can be anywhere - like even residences - and without clergymen or priests while a church is a dedicated building with clergymen or priests managing the prayers. A large church can also accommodate one or more chapels. A cathedral is bigger than a church and is run by a bishop. The very ancient Windsor Castle belongs to the monarchy and has the medieval St George's Chapel which may be used for services like weddings and burials. The King George VI Memorial Chapel was commissioned by Queen Elizabeth II as her father's burial place. It is a part of St George's Chapel. The Castle was the Queen's private residence.)


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Two days earlier, in a similar incident in the area, a domestic help was bitten by a pet dog in the lift when she was going for work.

Tailpiece: Sometimes appearing to outnumnber men and women on the streets, the stray dogs are turning more and more daring with sections of anti-social elements out there to feed and protect them in order to find a window for their unfulfilled love! There is an all-pervading feeling of lack of authority.

Ankit Tiwari had told the employee that “instructions had been received from the Prime Minister’s Office to conduct an enquiry” and reopen the “already disposed of” case and asked him to appear before the ED office at Madurai on October 30, DVAC said. The doctor was allegedly threatened with arrest and told to pay a bribe of Rs 3 cr to avoid the ED probe, which was later negotiated down to Rs 50 lakh.

Tailpiece: We are made to believe RBI, CBI, ED, Judiciary as sacrosanct and all others like railways, transport, revenue, education, PWD departments are composed of us the mortals, absolutely corrupt! As if in the sacrosanct places the angels descend from the heavens to work in the night and fly away before day-break! Let's be true to ourselves, we are all cut from the same cloth.

Apart from cash, Gill had also taken three planes as bribe and two of them were leased out to Redbird Aviation Academy. With the result, flying schools compromised on safety requirements and trainers met with accidents several times.

Five people were arrested from a banquet hall in Sector 51 Noida on Thursday where they were called to hold a rave party in a trap laid by the animal rights group, PFA. They named Yadav but he was not present.

Betting through Dubai-based Mahadev Book in India is conducted through a countrywide network. Probes reveal that the online gambling is worth several millions and top politicians, officials and celebs have been beneficiaries.

TAILPIECE: Polling dates for some States are round the corner. Top politicians have begun their acrimonious debate who looted more, even as Mahadev is washing their dirty laundry in the open ghat. Come what may, one needs to seize power to amass "thy wretched pelf!" One simple question is, why else one should spend lakhs or crores to get elected! A question every Indian should ask to oneself at least once a day!

His inaction amounts to defeating the rights of the people of the State to welfare measures sought to be implemented through the Bills, the Kerala Government's petition submitted, while the State of Tamil Nadu remarked that its "Governor is acting as a political rival."

Tailpiece: Coming up back to back, the petitions in their totality seem to question the provision of Raj Bhavan, and not motives of a Governor as a person.

Hundreds of cars piled up behind the wreckage of crashes occurring one after other in backing up - continuous crashes to the rhythm of metallic clanks and bangs back to back. According to reports, some ops required 'Jaws of Life' to pull apart the mangled cars to save lives inside.

The pilots struggled with Emerson to thwart a shut-off as he reached for the T-handles (see pix). Later he admitted to police he had taken psychedelic mushrooms and had a "nervous breakdown."

Doctors reasoned how the incidence of heart attacks is spiking over time and advise the simple way to play safely is to take a break and rehydrate yourself.

But how come ten people, including children, die of cardiac arrest at Garba in 24 hours, and that at different places of Gujarat? Garba had been going on for six days, and every year it is celebrated.

The killing of a teacher in France by an Islamic radical last Friday is linked to the Israel-Hamas war in West Asia, say authorities.

Shocking news from the UK: Leading grocers have started bribing policemen with free food and drinks to persuade them to take action against shoplifters.

Shoplifting has risen by about 27 per cent in 10 major cities across the UK this year. The cost of retail crime last year was $2.15 billion. Besides, “We are seeing organised gangs threatening staff with weapons and emptying stores," Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said. Data shows that the police failed to respond to 73 per cent of serious retail crimes that included assault and abuse of workers, apart from shoplifting.

Isar Mohammad allegedly picked up a banana offered to Ganesh idol on Chaturthi at a makeshift temple in Delhi and consumed it.

Harris said hip-hop is “the ultimate American art form” that “shapes every aspect of American popular culture.” “Hip-hop culture is American culture,” she said in a talk at her official residence at the US Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C.

The social media had mixed reaction. There was much appreciation that she dances better than any VP in American history. But some called her "moves" as “cringe” while others did not like her pink pants - "pink pants don’t look good.” In fact, her ensembles have always been incongruous.

"Let’s see how the (Governor's) Vice-Chancellors are given salary." Mamata's extreme statements will put the Marxist Government in Kerala, which is also facing similar issues, to shame. Has she begun the countdown for a war on the streets?

It's true Mamata has come to see a conspiracy to demolish the established systems across the country, but lacks the ability to foresee what exactly is being pushed.

Brandishing a sword, Mahant Paramhans told reporters on Tuesday he himself will behead MK Stalin's son for his remarks against Sanatan Dharma in case nobody came forward to accept his offer he made in his video. Udhayanidhi reacted to the saint's Monday video, "I will speak more. I am the grandson of the artist who put his head on the rail track for Tamil Nadu."

Somanath elaborated, "I am an explorer. I explore the Moon. I explore the inner space. So it's a part of the journey of my life to explore both science and spirituality. So I visit many temples and I read many scriptures. So try to find the meaning of our existence and our journey in this cosmos. So it's a part of the culture that we are all built to explore, find out the inner self as well as outer self. So for the outer, I do science, for the inner I come to temples." (See videos)

Rao the mathematical legend had fathered the path-breaking Rao-Blackwell theorem, one of the most important theorems in mathematical statistics, at the age of 25. That brought him global fame. He is also famous for his Cramér-Rao Bound inequality theorem relating to quality of estimators in statistics which has had a profound bearing on applications of modern economics and several other diverse fields. Simply put, with the pioneering statistician computation became a tool to analyse even socio-economic challenges of modern times.

The alleged incident has received such a flash publicity that a standardised city's hugely middle class population will have second thoughts about eating outside for some time. Now everything on the table looks suspicious!

“All subjects directly connected to the people should be shifted to the State List. Particularly the subject of education. Only if this is done can cruel exams like NEET be abolished,” Stalin said. Education was moved from the State List to the Concurrent List with the 42nd Constitution Amendment made by the Central Government in 1976.

Decentralisation has been at the core of Tamil politics since the times of CN Annadurai. Stalin indicated there will be political changes in the offing.

TAILPIECE: While the Centre and the States are at loggerheads, it takes a different cognitive acumen to know that entrance tests are not the way for students' admission to courses.

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