For the funeral of Elizabeth II, the British rose at dawn

For the funeral of Elizabeth II, the British rose at dawn

‘It’s a piece of history’: Hundreds of Britons got up at dawn on Monday to attend Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral and look for the best spots to see the procession that will carry her coffin pass.

Despite chilly morning temperatures in the British capital, spectators gathered before 7am near Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, where the religious ceremony will take place from 11am local time (10am GMT).

“I wanted to be part of (the celebrations). It’s a great day in our history, it’s part of our lives,” said Susan Davies, 53, who arrived at Hyde Park Corner from Essex, east London, at 6.30am , with her husband and their two teenagers.

Equipped with a chair and “lots of food,” she hopes to see the coffin of the Queen, who there, after the ceremony and procession, has to be transferred from the Abbey in a hearse towards Windsor Castle.

“I want to be part of the story,” says Jack, his 14-year-old son, who already plans to tell the event to future generations. “I will tell my children about this moment. I will tell them: I was there!”

Further afield, Calob Thompson, a 20-year-old film student who lives in Bedford, north London, plans to watch the funeral live on his phone, but wanted to see “the coffin and the royals” go by, so he arrived at 6am: 12:00 a.m

On September 18, 2022 in London, people line up for a final tribute to Queen Elizabeth II as they admire the sunset over Big Ben and Westminster (AFP – Marco BERTORELLO)

“We wanted to be in the front row. We thought we were in the middle of the crowd, but here we are in the best spot, with the best view. Fantastic!’ he exclaims, describing an atmosphere ‘pretty exciting but also dark’.

– duvets and coffee –

The first subways arriving in the surrounding stations are overcrowded. Some have spent the night there: many duvets are strewn on the floor of Whitehall, a thoroughfare in central London that is usually home to ministers and senior officials.

Campers settle down along the road that must be followed by the procession that will accompany the coffin of Elizabeth II the next day, in London September 18, 2022 (AFP - Marco BERTORELLO)
Campers settle down along the road that must be followed by the procession that will accompany the coffin of Elizabeth II the next day, in London September 18, 2022 (AFP – Marco BERTORELLO)

Bethany Beardmore, a 26-year-old accountant, arrived at 9:00 p.m. Sunday night. He didn’t want to miss “a piece of history”. “It was cold, we didn’t sleep,” he says, adding that he held out thanks to a lot of sugar and caffeine. “It was such an atmosphere (…) everyone was chatting”.

Young and old patiently take their worries on themselves. Union Jacks and Australian flags were hung on the railings of the buildings. Breakfast and coffee are best prepared. The best vantage points are already occupied.

Reference: www.challenges.fr

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