LONDON, September 18 (Reuters) – A row of four blue camp chairs marks the spot where Wendy Bingley will spend over 24 hours chatting to passers-by, eating sandwiches and watching Queen Elizabeth’s funeral procession around noon on Monday .
Bingley, her daughter and her 79-year-old mother are joined by tens of thousands of people on The Mall, the grand avenue in front of Buckingham Palace, to view Elizabeth’s coffin en route to her resting place in Windsor following her funeral near Westminster Abbey .
The Queen died at her castle in Scotland in September, aged 96. 8 caused a nationwide outbreak, drawing huge crowds with thousands lining up to join the sometimes sombre, sometimes ceremonial gathering of a monarch who had spent seven decades on the throne.
“We love the Queen very much,” said Bingley, 58, who set out before sunrise to find the best vantage point, just yards from where the coffin would pass.
“The rest of the family thinks we’re crazy, but hey ho.”
Closer to Parliament, where Elizabeth’s body lies, others have already spent the night on the pavement to witness the large military train and gun car that will carry the coffin towards Wellington Arch.
“I’m only 1.6m tall and I didn’t want to be 10th deep in the crowd. I wanted to be able to see it, so here we are, we surrendered to it, said Fiona Ross, 61, who lives in Italy and has stayed in a tent with her sister.
Bingley, who doesn’t have a tent, will sleep in her camp chair. Last week she stood in line all night to watch the Queen lay in state and come home to sleep for an hour before heading to work.
The mall has restrooms nearby, sunscreen and hot tea from the break tent, and drinking water at a nearby park. Dinner at Bingley’s consists of a picnic lunch at the grocery store and a glass of wine.
“We have sandwiches, I have a big box of tomatoes, I have sausage rolls — I basically went to Marks and Spencer and bought everything,” she said.
The procession will likely make its way through its position in minutes, but a big part of its decision to participate was the shared experience it promised.
“It’s the same as coming to see the Queen, being with people… they’re all just wonderful,” she said, gesturing to the growing crowd that followed her. One of these hikers stops to speak and asks the group in disbelief, “Are you guys staying the night?”
Registry reporting by William James and Stuart McDill; Edited by Emelia Sithole-Matarise
Source: Reuters Trust Policy.