Within the crowd gathered outdoors Westminster Abbey, and round central London, a query retains getting repeated.
“Ought to we go see the Queen?”
Shortly earlier than, the monarch’s coffin was delivered to Westminster Corridor, her mourning household trailing in procession.
Now, police herd the gang away from Westminster, in direction of the Thames and throughout the bridge, the place they’re greeted by the sight of a gaggle, all carrying yellow wristbands, being funnelled down some stairs.
The safety guards monitoring the queue have the identical conversion on repeat.
‘The place do you get these wristbands?’
‘On the finish of the road.’
‘The place’s the tip of the road?’
Throughout the highway, and alongside the river the road snakes.
For these already within the queue the temper is excessive. It is transferring shortly, and other people snack and chat, making buddies in the course of this distinctive pilgrimage.
However amongst these travelling within the reverse path, the questions develop a frantic edge. The place’s the tip of the road?
The blue-jacketed volunteers supply various solutions, however the consensus appears to be London Bridge.
Seems the tip of the road is at Tower Bridge… kind of. Within the winding lanes, it disappears, leaving teams of individuals confused and asking for solutions within the maze of streets beneath the bridge.
Volunteer Andre is herding them again the best way they got here — they’ve gone too far.
He places the additional couple of hundred metres persons are strolling all the way down to the British politeness, as he hustles folks again in direction of the Thames explaining as soon as once more that volunteers are handing out wristbands after folks have joined the again of the road.
The Queen’s presence is felt within the crowd, however it is a London she was by no means free to really expertise.
Priest Sam Cross says the worth of the crown was it shut the Queen out of a lot of London.
“You reside in luxurious, however you’re a servant to the general public in that approach. And so you possibly can’t simply pop all the way down to South Financial institution like we will have a drink and watch the Thames go by,” he says.
“You must stick to what is predicted of you. She did that for 70 years, and that is price remembering.”
Kashmira is in step with her aunts, who’re in excessive spirits, however all getting ready themselves for many tears once they lastly pay their respects.
The South Financial institution, she says, is a world away from the lifetime of the King.
“That is like one of the crucial buzzing areas to essentially get the tradition of recent London.”
She says Charles must work arduous to win over youthful Brits.
“I believe he must be the bridge between the legacy she has left, and what we count on of a contemporary monarch.
“So he is obtained a very robust problem forward of him. He will should faucet into what the nation needs from him, and he will should play it by ear a bit.”
The top of the queue at Tower Bridge is about 4 km from Westminster, however the line is transferring shortly. Darkness is falling, however the temper stays excessive.
Akunna is on vacation from Houston, and by no means anticipated to be a part of this second, however wished to expertise it.
“I believe it is going to be a second of awe, for certain.
“I am Nigerian. And each time we bury somebody additionally it is very a lot a number of pomp and circumstances, you already know, like custom and rituals, and so it is very acquainted to me.”
As nightfall falls the gang, now armed with wristbands, shuffles all the way down to the Thames, strolling to Lambeth Bridge.
Throughout the river the view of their closing vacation spot is blocked by Parliament, flag flying at half mast.
Lit by the glare of a dozen reporters’ reside crosses, the pilgrims choose up the tempo — it is actually transferring shortly now.
A volunteer estimates it is a couple of six-hour journey in complete, however these persons are getting near the tip.
Over the bridge, and down the steps, right into a cordon away from the gaze of the media they line up into rows, able to enter the Queen’s London.