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King Charles follows the coffin of Queen Elizabeth, draped in the Royal Standard with the Imperial State Crown placed on top, is carried on a horse-drawn gun carriage of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery.POOL/Reuters

They stood in silence. Thousands of people unified, at least for a moment, in shared grief and reflection. Some bowed their heads slowly while others cried. And then as the casket drew away and the procession moved on, a wave of applause rose up.

After five days of official mourning, the Queen’s coffin came home to London on Wednesday and made its final journey from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall where she is lying in state.

She died in Scotland’s Balmoral Castle last Thursday and since then all of the public ceremony surrounding her passing had taken place far away from the capital. On Wednesday, London finally got its chance to say goodbye.

Queen Elizabeth to lie in state

The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II will be borne from Buckingham Palace through the streets of London to Westminster Hall in slow procession, where it will lie in state for four days, allowing members of the public to pay their respects

LONDON

Windsor

Castle

0

20

KM

0

100

m

Admiralty Arch

St. James’

Palace

Horse Guards

The Mall

10 Downing St.

Westminster

Abbey

Start: 2:22 p.m.

(local time)

Buckingham

Palace

End: 3:00 p.m.

Westminster Hall

GUN CARRIAGE

Coffin carried on horse-drawn gun carriage of the King's Royal Horse Artillery; accompanied by a military parade and members of the Royal Family

Imperial

State Crown

Coffin: Draped in Royal Standard, adorned with crown, orb, sceptre and wreath

LYING IN STATE

Coffin will rest on a raised platform – catafalque – in Westminster Hall, which will be open to the public from 5 p.m., Sept. 14 to 6:30 a.m., Sept. 19. Each corner of the catafalque will be guarded by soldiers from units that serve the royal household

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: TILEZEN; OPENSTREETMAP CONTRIBUTORS; GRAPHIC NEWS; REUTERS

Queen Elizabeth to lie in state

The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II will be borne from Buckingham Palace through the streets of London to Westminster Hall in slow procession, where it will lie in state for four days, allowing members of the public to pay their respects

LONDON

Windsor

Castle

0

20

KM

0

100

m

Admiralty Arch

St. James’

Palace

Horse Guards

The Mall

10 Downing St.

Westminster

Abbey

Start: 2:22 p.m.

(local time)

Buckingham

Palace

End: 3:00 p.m.

Westminster Hall

GUN CARRIAGE

Coffin carried on horse-drawn gun carriage of the King's Royal Horse Artillery; accompanied by a military parade and members of the Royal Family

Imperial

State Crown

Coffin: Draped in Royal Standard, adorned with crown, orb, sceptre and wreath

LYING IN STATE

Coffin will rest on a raised platform – catafalque – in Westminster Hall, which will be open to the public from 5 p.m., Sept. 14 to 6:30 a.m., Sept. 19. Each corner of the catafalque will be guarded by soldiers from units that serve the royal household

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: TILEZEN; OPENSTREETMAP CONTRIBUTORS; GRAPHIC NEWS; REUTERS

Queen Elizabeth to lie in state

The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II will be borne from Buckingham Palace through the streets of London to Westminster Hall in slow procession, where it will lie in state for four days, allowing members of the public to pay their respects

Piccadilly Circus

LONDON

Charing Cross

TRAFALGAR

SQUARE

Detail

Windsor

Castle

0

20

Pall Mall

Admiralty

Arch

KM

Embankment

Horse Guards

St. James’ Palace

Green Park

The Mall

Start: 2:22 p.m.

(local time)

Buckingham

Palace

10 Downing St.

St. James’ Park

End: 3:00 p.m.

Westminster Hall

Birdcage Walk

St. James’ Park

River

Thames

Victoria St.

Westminster

Abbey

Palace of

Westminster

CENTRAL LONDON

0

100

m

GUN CARRIAGE

Coffin carried on horse-drawn gun carriage of the King's Royal Horse Artillery; accompanied by a military parade and members of the Royal Family

LYING IN STATE

Coffin will rest on a raised platform – catafalque – in Westminster Hall, which will be open to the public from 5 p.m., Sept. 14 to 6:30 a.m., Sept. 19. Each corner of the catafalque will be guarded by soldiers from units that serve the royal household

Imperial

State Crown

Coffin: Draped in Royal Standard, adorned with crown, orb, sceptre and wreath

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: TILEZEN; OPENSTREETMAP CONTRIBUTORS; GRAPHIC NEWS; REUTERS

Hundreds of thousands of people lined the sidewalks as the Queen’s casket made its way through the streets, resting on a gun carriage drawn by seven horses. The coffin was adorned with her crown orb and sceptre, and draped in the Royal Standard.

King Charles walked slowly behind, leading a contingent that included his siblings – Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward – as well as his sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. Bells rang out and guns in Hyde Park fired every minute in tribute.

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By nightfall thousands of people had begun to pay their respects and the line to the hall stretched for three kilometres along the River Thames. A handful had been waiting to get in since Monday afternoon.

The lying in state will last until the Queen’s funeral at Westminster Abbey on Monday and more than 400,000 people in total are expected to pass by the closed coffin.

Mourners had been warned that they may have to wait up to 30 hours. But the queue appeared to be moving faster than many expected Wednesday evening, largely because of the efforts of more than 1,000 volunteers. One fenced-off section that had been set aside for the crowd was empty.

  • King Charles III, Princess Anne, Prince Edward, Prince William,Prince Andrew, Camilla, Queen Consort, Sir Timothy Laurence, Mr Peter Phillips, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Catherine, Princess of Wales, Princess Beatrice and Prince Edward, Duke of Kent at Westminster Hall.Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

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“It’s stunningly beautiful and very quiet and serene,” said Julie Myan, who was among the first people to view the casket. She’d waited in line since 8 a.m. on Wednesday with her friend, Lisa Duggan. Both did a slight curtsy as they approached the coffin.

Ms. Myan said there was little time to pause by the coffin because mourners were encouraged to keep moving. “I just kept looking back as I was walking to take it all in,” she said.

Many people began lining up along the route of the funeral procession on Tuesday and some camped out overnight just metres from the gates of Buckingham Palace.

Tanya House was among the thousands who stood near Horse Guards Parade on Wednesday, hoping to catch a glimpse of the coffin. But she was too far back and didn’t see anything. It was still worth it, she said.

“I just wanted to be here where it’s all happening and you have an atmosphere. Being part of history and trying to see it,” said Ms. House, who is from London and worked as a nurse for decades. “I’m old enough to remember the death of George VI. I was at school when they came around and told us. I thought I’ll try and see if I can get up here at the age of 85 and see her.”

Queen Elizabeth II, the monarch of modernity, is gone

Beth Treadway also tried to get as close as she could to the procession. But the crowd was too large and she had to give up and stand about two blocks from Horse Guards Parade. “It’s a little bit disappointing that we’re stuck,” said Ms. Treadway, who lives outside London. But she was also just glad to be there and share in the moment. “I don’t think I would have been happy not to have come to London at this time, I needed to be part of it and say goodbye,” she said.

Just down from Buckingham Palace, The Mall was filled with rows of Union Jacks each affixed with black mourning tassels. Work crews stood on ladders to untangle flags early in the morning and street sweepers did a final pass through before the procession arrived at around 2:30 p.m. local time.

A couple of metres back from the police fencing, many people stood or sat on the permanent railings. Some leaned on lampposts to get a better view or climbed on top of waste bins. At first there was a festive-like atmosphere as onlookers shared snacks, chairs and drinks. But as the coffin approached, the crowd hushed.

By the time the procession got to Horse Guards Parade and turned toward Westminster, the walkways were filled with people who clapped and cheered after it passed.

Teresa Lawless travelled from Westport in western Ireland with her friend Mary Marley to watch the procession. Ms. Lawless also planned to join the line for the lying-in-state. “I lived in London for 30 years and I love the Royal Family,” she said. She’s writing a family history, titled Lawless Truth, and plans to include the Queen’s funeral as a chapter.

Gillian Sutton arrived at 6 a.m. on Wednesday after taking the overnight train from Cornwall. Sitting on a blue plaid blanket, she said she didn’t want to disclose her age but she said people could guess from her white hair and the fact that she also remembered the Queen’s coronation in 1953 – which she also watched outside Buckingham Palace.

People around her offered chairs but she declined. “Once I’ve sat on the ground, I can’t get up again,” she said. She wasn’t all that comfortable sitting on the hard pavement, “but it’s all right, I shall overcome it,” she said. “We British overcome everything. You’ve got to have a little bit of fun while you’re in agony.”

The waiting and the standing didn’t matter, she added. “I just thought it was my duty to come, I wanted to come. I mean I’ve known this woman all my life and I felt I must honour her.”

After the procession left, the crowd at Horse Guards Parade began to quickly disperse. But one elderly woman stood quietly, tears welling in her eyes. She didn’t want to talk about what she was feeling or give her name, she just wanted some time to think.

Fiona McIntosh stood for a moment too. She’d been among the people standing along The Mall and she managed to see a bit of the coffin. Afterward, instead of joining the throng of people rushing to leave, Ms. McIntosh paused to let the occasion sink in. “It’s very emotional,” she said in the midst of the mass exodus. “This is what I came to do, is to mark the occasion, pay my respects and just get my voice heard.”