The Unz Review:ㅤThe Queen’s Queue, by James Thompson


16-09-22 12:43:00,

Thousands are queueing to view the Queen’s coffin lying in State at Westminster Hall. Continuous TV feeds show people entering the Hall, filing slowly through and then at the coffin the women curtsying, the men bowing their heads, service people saluting, many crossing themselves, others bowing deeply in prayer and some just looking quietly. Sombre faces, a few in tears but all respectful, mostly in their usual everyday clothing after at least 5+ hours of queueing outside, some with medals, uniforms, or the dark suits of Parliamentarians. Best of all, there is no commentary. The camera sometimes picks out an architectural or decorative detail, or a familiar political face, but otherwise the show is as silent as the hall itself. Every 20 minutes, with the banging of a steel rod on the floor, the guard is changed, the only sound their clattering shoes on the flagstones.

All very British. Few nations have a 900-year-old hall as the centre of government, and the collection of mediaeval, Tudor and 19th Century uniforms to recall their military and cultural histories. Few have the same head of government for 70 years. No music, no trumpets, no popcorn. Just a procession of the public, mute. Sovereigns have died before, and will die again, but this is happening now, in the lives of the respectful cortege, and they wish to be on the record as having made their farewells.

I defy any person to witness two changings of the guard while the mourners go by without being touched by their observances.

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