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  • Theo Chatzakis

Thank you, Ma’am

What was it really like in the queue? We had all seen the pictures and heard the stories, whether you support the monarchy or not the coming together of people, with the same goal was phenomenal.

I love the Royal family and what they stand for, the Queen was our servant leader, and she dedicated her life to her role as Queen. I wanted to be a part of this historic event.

So, I booked a train ticket and made my plans. We had warm clothes, sensible shoes, food, drink, tickets, and a map in case we got lost! And off we went. We got on the train at 21:30 on the Friday evening and set off on an adventure. We arrived at Kings Cross station at 12:30 am and asked the taxi driver to take us to the end of the queue.

The end of the queue was at Southwark Park and the park consisted of lines and lines of barriers, which we walked up and down for two hours until we got to the section where we received our wristband. There were hundreds of people all waiting to join the queue, all chatting and waiting patiently for their wristbands.

The first site we saw after the park was Tower bridge which was lit up in purple, and it was stunning. We had a long wait in the pens when we got to Tower Bridge and did not move for quite a while, the time between 03:00 am – 06:00 am was difficult. It was cold and we weren’t moving much at all. I did not hear one person complain, we even had a few people dancing to keep warm! And people around us were chatting quietly.

From 7 am we moved steadily along taking in the sites of London, and they were spectacular. I’m not going to lie it was hard standing up but chatting to other people, finding out about them, and where they had traveled from kept everyone’s spirits up as we slowly made out way along the river Thames. There were thousands of volunteers and police who clearly knew their role, they wished everyone good morning, kept us all on the right path, kept checking our wristbands, and gave us clear directions, they were genuinely interested in the people around them.

When we got into the Centre of London, we followed the signs to drop off our backpacks as they were too big to take into Westminster Hall, and security was very tight. We then re-joined the queue so met different people from various places across the UK. We passed the TV crews and walked over Lambeth Bridge and we thought we were near. How wrong I was.

The pens next to Westminster Hall felt as if they would never end, they went on and on and on! Two hours it took to get to the security section. Still, no one was complaining just a feeling of excitement that we would finally be able to pay our respects.

We spent some time going through security and this was very tight, with no liquids, no phones, no food, and lots of armed police, after we went through the security barriers we were at the door of Westminster Hall. This was it; we had finally gotten to the end of the queue.

West minster Hall is beautiful, I stood at the top of the steps and just breathed, it was so quiet, we could just hear the tap that told us that the guards were changing over. I was in awe of the whole thing. I had my moment to pay my respects and on leaving I took one last look back. And it was over.

We came out collected our bags from the bag drop and had our first sit down of the day. What really shone through the whole experience was, everyone in that queue had the same goal, to pay their respect to the Queen. All the volunteers and police knew their role and followed this to the letter. Everyone knew the standard the queen expected, and they met that standard in everything they did.

Would I do it again?

Yes, in a heartbeat.


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