“Tales From The Queue” is lining up to be the great unforeseen story emerging from London following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Loyal British subjects and international well-wishers have arrived in droves to pay last respects at Westminster Hall, where the late queen’s coffin is lying in state. The longest reported time spent standing alongside the Thames River is a full 24 hours, and on Saturday, King George III and Prince William walked among the people to boost spirits as they waited. A wristband system has been deployed to allow people to step out for brief periods to get food or answer the call of nature.
It’s not the typical setting for celebrities who are more accustomed to having things hand-delivered to them, but some have suffered through it for the sake of being a part of history. Tilda Swinton, recently at the Venice Film Festival for the premiere of Joanna Hogg’s The Eternal Daughter (and still in theaters, starring opposite Idris Elba in George Miller’s Three Thousand Years of Longing), was spotted in the general public queue. Swinton, who was friendly with Princess Diana at the West Heath Girls’ School in Kent, was noticed on the official live stream and shouted out on social media with the #RespectTheQueue hashtag.
It’s unclear just how long Swinton waited, but legendary English soccer player David Beckham, in a suit, newsboy cap, and using an umbrella as a walking stick, was among the many who slowly crept their way forward for 13 hours, according to CNN. A BBC reporter approached him for a quick interview, knowing he couldn’t exactly leave lest he lose his place to pay his respects.
“We all want to be here together, we all want to experience something where we celebrate the amazing life of our Queen,” he said. He also described what he and his comrades had been snacking on since the wee hours.
Sharon Osbourne, who recently declared that she and husband Ozzy Osbourne would soon be leaving Los Angeles and making Britain their primary residence again, also queued up, saying, “I love the Queen, and I came over for this because I’m a royalist and I love the royal family.”
Also, Good Morning Britain’s Susanna Reid shared tips in awaiting her turn to view the Queen’s coffin before Monday’s state funeral.