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Friday, 5 April, 2002, 16:46 GMT 17:46 UK
Queuing to honour Queen Mother
Lambeth Bridge
The queue is stretching over Lambeth Bridge
The queue for Westminster Hall stretches across Lambeth Bridge and along the south bank of the River Thames.

Police estimated 20,000 people are waiting to pay their last respects at the Queen Mother's coffin and it could take them up to six hours.

No one seems to mind - they are determined to say goodbye to a woman who was a constant presence throughout their lives.

Queue to see Queen Mother's coffin
Up to 20,000 people are in the queue
Summing up most people's feelings, Josephine Wait from south east London said: "After the things the Queen Mother has done for us it is so little for us to do this for her."

Those in the queue come from across the country and include the old and young.

Inside the crowds walk in sombre silence past the coffin.

It is standing on a seven-foot high catafalque, draped in the Queen Mother's personal standard and surmounted by her diamond-encrusted crown.

Bowed heads

It is also topped with a single wreath of white roses and freesias from the Queen, reading 'In Loving Memory, Lilibet'.

The public are being encouraged to keep moving while filing past the coffin, but some are stopping and bowing their heads for several seconds.

Others are glancing in curiosity at the coffin and then their surroundings.

The Queen Mother's coffin
Thousands of people have already paid their respects
Five large candles surround the coffin and at each corner there stands an officer of the Household Cavalry, plumed and helmeted, head bowed and with hands folded on the hilts of their swords.

The endless flow of people are confined to two long strips of tan carpet running the length of the hall to deaden the footsteps.

The quiet is only broke by the changeover of the guardsmen mounting vigil by the coffin every 20 minutes.

The hall is supposed to close to the public at 1800 BST but police will be keeping it open as long as the public remain - for 24 hours a day, if necessary.

The Queen Mother will lie in state until Monday evening, and on Tuesday the coffin will be taken to Westminster Abbey for her funeral.

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