Tuesday 13 September 2022 10:47 PM JANE FRYER talks to some of the mourners who started queueing early to see the ... trends now
As the sky darkens and the rain sets in, the small crowd huddles against the concrete wall in anoraks, red woolly hats and Union Jack flags.
They're queuing on the south side of Lambeth Bridge to file past the Queen's coffin, open for viewings from 5pm today and anticipated to attract 330,000 visitors at a rate of 3,000 an hour.
And this lot really don't want to miss it.
Which is why, when there was talk of crowd controls and quotas and warnings from the Department of Culture of queues snaking round half of London, some of them, including Vanessa Nanthakumaran, 56, Anne Daley and Grace Gothard (right at the front) raced down here.
They have been here since Monday and, by the time I arrived yesterday shortly after noon, their little gang had also been joined by a historian, a carer, a professor, a retired construction worker, a medium and a spattering of others – making a grand total of ten. Like most of them, retired gardener Martin J Shanahan, um'ed and ah'ed about when to join the queue.
'As my mum always said... it's better to arrive three hours early than five minutes late!'
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They're queuing on the south side of Lambeth Bridge (pictured) to file past the Queen's coffin, open for viewings from 5pm today and anticipated to attract 330,000 visitors at a rate of 3,000 an hour
The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II is seen in the hearse at St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh on Tuesday
Vanessa Nathakumaran, 56, from Harrow, and Anne Daley, 65, from Cardiff are the first two people to arrive on Lambeth Bridge, London, to queue for the Queen's lying in state, more than 48 hours before the line opens
Three hours?! As we chat in the drizzle, there's a good 28 hours to go before the queue can even start moving. But this lot don't care about the wait, or the wet. They're warmed right through by their love for the late Queen.
'She was such a brilliant, brilliant woman,' says number five in the queue Sarah Langley, 55, eyes brimming. 'We've all had jobs that we hated and we just jacked them in, she stuck with hers for 70 years and, my God, did she do it well'!
Delroy Morrison, 61 and number four in the queue, feels the same and, despite having had two heart attacks, is here for the duration. 'As long as my heart keeps going, I'll be here for her,' he says. 'It's the last thing I can do after all she's done for us. This is a piece of cake in comparison.'
Even so, it's not comfortable.
Vanessa Nanthakumaran, 56, Anne Daley and Grace Gothard (right at the front) raced down here
A person queueing to view Queen Elizabeth II lying in state rests near Lambeth Bridge
On top of having to deal with the rain, the dreary DCMS 'banned list' decrees that queuers are not allowed to bring tents, sleeping bags, chairs, hampers – not even a rogue Paddington Bear.
Which meant that Sarah came straight from the end of her shift as a railway station customer service