Anyone thinking of participating in lay-in-state for the Queen will need the reserves of physical and mental stamina typically associated with running a marathon or climbing Ben Nevis.
There will be very few people who will be able to queue for more than five miles and a day for their last glimpse. And when I say more than a day, I don’t mean an eight-hour or 24-hour work day – but a full 30 hours. This is just the latest guess. It could, possibly, be even longer.
Nor will it be when people spend the night outside camp for Wimbledon or a royal wedding, with a bit of camaraderie, sleeping bags and tents offering minimal protection from the elements (and it’s getting a little chilly in the evening). No. This queue will continue on the streets of London. As the government website softly puts it, it is a visit “with very little opportunity to sit because the queue will go on and on”.
You have to sleep on your feet, and when you finally reach Westminster Hall, you will be too tired to know where you are and what you are doing there. The government has warned people about physical endurance tests, and advised them not to bring children.
What they haven’t done is, because it’s probably illegal, advise people with disabilities not to bother, or tell vulnerable people that this gig isn’t for them. However, what is being “organised” now has an effect. The only people who will be able to cross the catwalk in a comfortable way without queuing will be MPs and other signatories. Older soldiers and people using wheelchairs would be four miles down the road, waiting in a pitiful line with no easy access, no loo, food or drink, or really rest. That doesn’t seem very appropriate.
I would say this is insane, and a disaster to shame the country. We need to find a better way to do things. In the past, it was easier to arrange a let-in-state because there was less need for security, baggage checks, and the number would likely be lower than Queen Elizabeth II’s.
Perhaps in 1952, for George VI, people with disabilities did not go along because that was the way of the world at the time. But we now live in more enlightened times.
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Maybe it’s too late, but there may be a way to provide a simple ballot with a specified time band that enables people to pay respect without jeopardizing their health, and giving all mourners an equal footing. keeps on. There are a lot of events like this, and a lot of organizations that know how to make the necessary arrangements. As the coffin arrived in London, we would also have arranged a way for the mourners to give thanks by laying a road line.
It should also be said that the 11th-century Westminster Hall – the largest “room” in Europe at its time – is not well suited for the function of hosting a mass event. Westminster Hall would be a more radical move to keep the program, but a larger venue like St Paul’s should be let-in-state for the public. I also advocate using the uniquely unconventional NEC in Birmingham.
This will maximize the number of people who can attend and take the stress out of London, and there will be far fewer queues. Keep in mind, a public lying state for a monarch is not some ritual related to Arthur or William the Conqueror, but to George V in response to public demand. As the House of Windsor often showed, old ways can be modernised.
An online ballot system for Westminster Hall would mean fewer people could attend, but it certainly bodes well for the chaos that is fast approaching. A 30-hour long shuffling on the streets of London is not practical or even humane. This hardly corresponds to the memory of his late glory.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /