Britain is doing little to defy the stereotype that people enjoy nothing more than joining a queue as the wait to pay final respects to the Queen grows.
Officials have laid on around 10 miles of “queuing infrastructure” to allow as much of the public as possible to visit the Her Majesty’s lying in state.
Doors at Westminster Hall – where the Queen’s coffin is on public displayed – opened at 5pm on Wednesday. The historic building on the parliamentary estate will remain open for 24-hours a day until 6.30am on September 19, the morning of the late monarch’s funeral.
Reports suggest that people have already been queuing for 15 hours, with some expectations that waits could reach 30 hours. It prompts questions about what happens if nature calls – but planners have mercifully thought ahead.
Those on the route – 6.9 miles from Victoria Tower Gardens to Southwark Park, with a further three miles within the park itself – will have access to more than 500 portable toilets.
Those joining the line will be given numbered wristbands so they take toilet breaks without losing their place.
With up to 400,000 people expected to queue, more than 1,000 volunteers, stewards, marshals and police officers will be on hand at any one time as people brave the wait on the banks of the Thames.
This includes 779 professional stewards per shift, assisted by 100 civil service volunteer marshals, 40 adult scouts, and 30 members of the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry charity, as well as Metropolitan Police officers.
So how long is the queue right now?
Well, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is running a live “queue tracker” to pinpoint the end of the line.
At 4pm, the tracker showed the queue was around 2.2 miles long, stretching past Blackfriars Bridge in Southwark near Tate Modern.
To help avoid disappointment, it is understood that entry to the back of the queue may be closed early, although it is too early to estimate when that moment might come.
Numbers will be monitored towards the end of the lying in state period, to ensure as near as possible that those already waiting are able complete their visit.
There will be a separate accessible route running from the Tate Britain for people less able to wait for a long period of time, with timed entry slots issued for a line along Millbank to the Palace of Westminster.
No proof of disability will be required to use this route, with marshals on hand to make sure people are in the correct line and two British Sign Language interpreters to help.
It is understood there will be an element of self-policing when it comes to people keeping their places in line.
Those waiting in the queue are being given a coloured and numbered wristband, specific to each person, allowing them to leave for a brief time.
It is thought people will know those around them and be supportive when others need to step out.