Hundreds of British troops and an army of officials made final preparations Sunday for the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II-Zamkuwire - Zamkuwire.com

Hundreds of British troops and an army of officials made final preparations Sunday for the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II-Zamkuwire

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A woman wipes her nose as members of the public pay their respects as they pass the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II during its lying in State inside Westminster Hall, at the Palace of Westminster in London, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022.  (Adrian Dennis/Pool Photos via AP)

Thousands of police, hundreds of British troops and an army of officials made final preparations Sunday for the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II — a spectacular display of national mourning that will also be the biggest gathering of world leaders for years.

U.S. President Joe Biden and other world leaders have flown into London for the funeral, to which around 500 royals, heads of state and heads of government from around the globe have been invited.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive at London Stansted Airport, in Stansted, Britain, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022. The Bidens are in London to attend the funeral for Queen Elizabeth II. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)Prime Minister of Mauritius Pravind Jugnauth with his wife Kobita Jugnauth sign a book of condolences at Lancaster House following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, in London, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022. ( Jonathan Hordle/Pool Photo via AP)

As the dignitaries poured in, the clock was ticking down for those seeking a place in most massive queue any of them have ever seen to file past the queen’s coffin as it lies in state at Westminster Hall. The miles-long queue is expected to be closed to new arrivals later Sunday so that everyone in line can view the coffin before Monday morning, when it will be taken to Westminster Abbey for the queen’s funeral.

Family by family, thousands of people kept lining up around the clock, braving chilly overnight temperatures and waits of up to 17 hours in a queue that stretched for over 5 miles (8 kilometers).

Lauren Wilson, a 36-year-old student, was in the much shorter queue for people with mobility issues. She said she wanted to experience in person the coffin lying in state.

Members of the public file past the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II during the lying in State inside Westminster Hall, at the Palace of Westminster in London, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022.  (Chip Somodevilla/Pool Photos via AP)Malawi's Minister for Information and Digitisation Gospel Kazako signs a book of condolences at Lancaster House following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, in London, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022. ( Jonathan Hordle/Pool Photo via AP)

People make their way along the Long Walk towards Cambridge gate outside Windsor Castle to lay flowers for the late Queen Elizabeth II in Windsor, England, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022. The Queen will lie in state in Westminster Hall for four full days before her funeral on Monday Sept. 19. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)People make their way along the Long Walk towards Cambridge gate outside Windsor Castle to lay flowers for the late Queen Elizabeth II in Windsor, England, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022. The Queen will lie in state in Westminster Hall for four full days before her funeral on Monday Sept. 19. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

“The world is in such a weird place and then this happened. It feels more momentous,” she said.

She worried that the pageantry surrounding Elizabeth’s death deprives the queen’s relatives of the ability to come to terms with their loss.

“The family are not allowed to grieve. I find it quite heartbreaking,” she said.

The queen’s eight grandchildren, led by heir to the throne Prince William, circled the coffin and stood with their heads bowed during a silent vigil on Saturday evening.

Among the foreign leaders in London was New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who told the BBC she was humbled to represent her nation at the funeral and to witness the national outpouring of grief and respect for the late queen.

“The thing that I will take away from this period is just the beauty of the public’s response, the kindness that you see from members of the public, the patience, the camaraderie. That has been, for me, the most moving tribute of all, has been the public response of the British people,” she said.

Members of the public file past the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II during the lying in State inside Westminster Hall, at the Palace of Westminster in London, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022.  (Chip Somodevilla/Pool Photos via AP)Paraguayan Ambassador to the UK Genaro Vicente Pappalardo signs a book of condolences at Lancaster House, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, in London, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022. ( Jonathan Hordle/Pool Photo via AP)

Police officers wait in Westminster in London, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022,The funeral of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II will take place in Westminster on Monday. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

King Charles III was holding a reception for heads of state and other leaders Sunday evening at Buckingham Palace.

People across the U.K. will also pause Sunday evening for a nationwide minute of silence to remember the queen, who died Sept. 8 at 96 after 70 years on the throne. Monday has been declared a public holiday, and the funeral will be broadcast to a huge television audience worldwide and screened to crowds in parks and public spaces across the country.

Police officers from around the country will be on duty as part of the biggest one-day policing operation in London’s history.

Crowds also gathered Sunday near Windsor Castle, where the queen will be laid to rest at a private family ceremony on Monday evening.

“I think it’s been amazing,” said Anna Pettigrew, a 55-year-old teacher. “It’s been very emotional, and I think it’s been a very fitting tribute to a wonderful queen.”

Camilla, the new queen consort, paid tribute to the queen in a video message, saying the monarch “carved her own role” as a “solitary woman” on a world stage dominated by men.

“I will always remember her smile. That smile is unforgettable,” said Camilla, who is married to Charles.

Prince Andrew also paid tribute to his mother, saying he would forever treasure “your love for a son, your compassion, your care, your confidence.”

“I will miss your insights, advice and humor,” he said.

A man wears a shirt with the British flag as he files past the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II during the lying in State inside Westminster Hall, at the Palace of Westminster in London, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022.  (Jeff J Mitchell/Pool Photos via AP)Former Mozambique President Joaquim Chissano signs a book of condolences at Lancaster House following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, in London, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022. ( Jonathan Hordle/Pool Photo via AP)

A child crouches as members of the public pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II during the lying in State inside Westminster Hall, at the Palace of Westminster in London, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022.  (Chip Somodevilla/Pool Photos via AP)King Charles III receives Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuba Gaston Browne in the 1844 Room at Buckingham Palace in London, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022. ( Kirsty O'Connor/Pool Photo via AP)Police officers wait in Westminster in London, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022,The funeral of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II will take place in Westminster on Monday. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

Andrew, the third of the queen’s four children, has been relieved of official royal duties and stripped of his honorary military titles over his friendship with the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

After queen’s four children — Charles, Princess Anne, Andrew and Prince Edward — held a vigil Friday around her coffin, on Saturday night it was the grandchildren’s turn.

William and Prince Harry, Charles’ sons, were joined by Anne’s children, Zara Tindall and Peter Philips; Andrew’s daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie; and Edward’s two children — Lady Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn.

Caryll Foster keeps herself warm with foil as she will stay overnight to be in the first row for the Queen's funeral at the mall in front of Buckingham Palace in London, England, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022. The funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch, takes place on Monday. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

The King's Body Guard, formed of Gentlemen at Arms, Yeomen of the Guard and Scots Guards, change guard duties around the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, Lying in State inside Westminster Hall, at the Palace of Westminster, in London, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, ahead of her funeral on Monday. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, pool)Members of the public pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II during the lying in State inside Westminster Hall, at the Palace of Westminster in London, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022.  (Jeff J Mitchell/Pool Photos via AP)

William stood with his head bowed at the head of the coffin and Harry at the foot. Both princes, who are military veterans, were in uniform. The crowd kept slowly, silently filing past.

“You could see that they were thinking hard about their grandmother, the queen,” said Ian Mockett, a civil engineer from Oxford in southern England. “It was good to see them all together as a set of grandchildren, given the things that have happened over the last few years.”

Before the vigil, Beatrice and Eugenie issued a statement praising their “beloved grannie.”

The King's Body Guard, formed of Gentlemen at Arms, Yeomen of the Guard and Scots Guards, wait to change guard duties around the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, Lying in State inside Westminster Hall, at the Palace of Westminster, in London, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, ahead of her funeral on Monday. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, pool)Royal guards change duties as the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II lies in state on the catafalque in Westminster Hall, in London, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022. ( Jacob King/Pool Photo via AP)A member of The King's Body Guards of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms performs guard duties around the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, Lying in State inside Westminster Hall, at the Palace of Westminster, in London, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, ahead of her funeral on Monday. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, pool)

“We, like many, thought you’d be here forever. And we all miss you terribly. You were our matriarch, our guide, our loving hand on our backs leading us through this world. You taught us so much and we will cherish those lessons and memories forever,” the sisters wrote.

The silence in Westminster Hall was broken briefly Friday when a man lunged at the coffin. London police said Sunday that 28-year-old Muhammad Khan of London has been charged with behavior intended to “cause alarm, harassment or distress.” He will appear in court on Monday.

The lying-in-state continues until early Monday morning, when the queen’s coffin will be moved on a gun carriage pulled by 142 Royal Navy sailors to nearby Westminster Abbey for the funeral, the finale of 10 days of national mourning for Britain’s longest-reigning monarch.

After the service Monday at the abbey, the late queen’s coffin will be transported through the historic heart of London on the state gun carriage. It will then be taken in a hearse to Windsor, where the queen will be interred alongside her late husband, Prince Philip, who died last year at 99.

Guardsmen stand around the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, Lying in State inside Westminster Hall, at the Palace of Westminster, in London, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, ahead of her funeral on Monday. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, pool)

People queue to pay their respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II during the Lying-in State, outside Westminster Hall in London, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday Sept. 8, 2022, after 70 years on the throne. She was 96. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)People queue to pay their respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II during the Lying-in State, outside Westminster Hall in London, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest-reigning monarch and a rock of stability across much of a turbulent century, died Thursday Sept. 8, 2022, after 70 years on the throne. She was 96. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

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