Mourners line the streets of London for Queen’s coffin procession

London fell silent as the Queen’s horse-drawn coffin passed from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall.

Mourners from far and wide arrived in the early hours of the morning to secure the best spots along the route with camping chairs and raincoats in tow.

The royal hearse left the palace at 2.22pm and was followed by the Queen’s children King Charles, the Duke of York, the Princess Royal and the Earl of Wessex and her grandchildren the Prince of Wales and Duke of Sussex.

Daniel Kimber left Kent at 6.20am to get to the Mall. The mobile hairdresser had called all of his clients to rearrange their appointments.

He said: “It was eerily quiet. In London there is noise all around you but for that seven minutes, everyone went quiet. No one spoke, nothing.”

Crowds await the Queen's coffin procession
Crowds await the Queen’s coffin procession

Having arrived at 4am this morning from Doncaster, Yorkshire, ex-soldier Richard Calladine wore his military medals for the occasion. He managed to stand at the front row on the Mall with his mum and auntie.

The 44-year-old said: “It’s something you’ve got to do, it’s your duty to do that. I had to see Her Majesty away, I also wanted to see the King. It wasn’t about him today because he’ll have his coronation day which I’ll come to as well.

“I’ll be going to Windsor on Monday as well to see Her Majesty off, it’s just something you’ve got to do. Everything I’ve got in my life is part of her.”

Richard, who served in the British Army for 25 years, added: “It was a little bit emotional when I actually saw the coffin, knowing that Her Majesty was in there.

“When Hugh Edwards broke the news on BBC news that Her Majesty had passed away, I just broke immediately and I cried for 36 hours and I’m not ashamed to admit that.”

Gina Deacon is a South African who has lived in the UK for 21 years. The 47-year-old lives in Capel, Surrey, and works for a finance firm who gave her the day off to pay her respects.

Her mother Gail Fowlds, 74, has been visiting since July so the pair brought their camping chairs to the Mall today.

The mother and daughter arrived at eight o’clock and managed to get to the second row by the fourth flag from Buckingham Palace

Gina said: “It was really sombre and quiet.”

Gail said: “From two o’clock it went really quiet. Everybody was feeling the exact same sentiment and that was really nice. There were such different age groups and nationalities.

“It was marvellous having this privilege but very, very sad.”

“She was in tears all day,” Gina added.

Gail said: “I should have brought a towel instead of my tissue.”

Not everyone managed to get up close to watch the procession from Whitehall or the Mall.

Pauline Hughes travelled with her wife Ann Hall and sister Janet Mills to watch the procession and initially had a perfect spot at Whitehall.

The crowds were so big and overwhelming they decided to move to Green Park but it had already closed when they arrived.

Alongside thousands of others the retirees decided to watch the procession on four big screens put up at Hyde Park.

Many people brought picnic blankets, sat in groups with their children, staying long after the coffin had arrived at Westminster Hall to pay their respects.

Janet, 57, said: “It was really nice. When they put the coffin up in Westminster Hall everyone stood up. The atmosphere was really quiet and respectful.”

Her sister Pauline, 65, said: “She was all we have ever known and speaking for me personally she was just someone everyone could relate to. Everyone felt like they knew her even if they didn’t.”

The coffin arrived at the Palace of Westminster at 3pm where the Queen will be lying-in-state until the state funeral on Monday.

Featured image: Harry Dudman

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