Queen Elizabeth II & The Queue that shocked the world
I flew in to London on Friday 16th September to attend the Laying-In of H.M. Queen Elizabeth II. My taxi driver told me how the airports were flooded by the hundreds of thousands of foreigners who had flown in to do the same. News headlines warned visitors: the queueing time to see the Queen’s coffin was reportedly 20 hours!
I left Tower Bridge station and began walking down the Queue to find the entry point – and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Endless lines, around every corner, streams of thousands of people of every demographic. I was almost disheartened as I kept walking “backward” for an hour until I finally found the entryway. I joined the Queue.
With me were young teenagers and old seniors; people of all races and ethnicities; hipsters and blue-collar workers; the talkative and shy; families and singles. A staggering diversity. I couldn't help but notice an old man walking with a hunched back and a cane, with military medals on his blazer, bravely queueing to salute his Commander-in-Chief one last time. I happened to walk alongside two Americans, a father, and a son, who had flown in from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to pay their respects. In front of me were two Brazilians, admirers of the Queen who shared a personal story of when they first met her.
Now take a moment to think about this. Millions of people from all walks of life sacrificed up to 20 hours of their time to endure grueling discomfort on the hard asphalt of London, spending hard-earned money and resources – all for a single bow beside the Queen’s coffin for a few seconds. And surprisingly, they did it all with a smile. The Queue was vibrant with a sense of cheerful togetherness. A diverse range of people was suddenly firmly united by their mutual love for this woman. Everyone had a sense of deep respect for each other. No one complained (at least the ones I was around), but instead expressed how grateful they were to attend this historic moment.
No one campaigned around the world to convince all these people to fly into London and attend. No one organized it to be this way. No one offered incentives to the Queue-goers, nor was it sponsored by billionaires. It was all voluntary. And it overwhelmed the authorities.
In this modern age of social unrest, division, and hate, I saw thousands come together to stand in line from midday to midnight to bid a final, heartfelt goodbye to Queen Elizabeth II. I have never seen anything like it.
It became a Statement by the people: the monarchy is not some relic of the past, or an outdated, meaningless institution. No, the people said: This is our Queen, whom we loved, who inspired us, who served as the anchor to the nation, who led us through her symbolic power and noble character.
In an age where comfort and materialism are supposed to be the modern man's god, the people showed the contrary. What we actually care about is much deeper than that. We gladly sacrifice time, energy, comfort, and money to give a bow - because the bow is meaningful. Because this is the tradition we live for. It is who we are.
Mankind lives in the pursuit of the noble. We thirst after Beauty. And the Queen became the symbol of exactly this: the noble, pure, and beautiful. And the people said: This is what we honour. May her Memory be Eternal!