By MIKE CORDER, JILL LAWLESS and DANICA KIRKA
LONDON (AP) — U.S. President Joe Biden paid his respects at Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin on Sunday as 1000’s of police, lots of of British troops and a military of officers made last preparations for the queen’s state funeral — a spectacular show of nationwide mourning that may also be the largest gathering of world leaders for years.
Folks throughout Britain paused for a minute of silence at 8 p.m. in reminiscence of the one monarch most have ever identified. At Westminster Corridor, the place the queen is mendacity in state, the fixed stream of mourners paused for 60 seconds as individuals noticed the minute of reflection in deep silence.
In Windsor, the place the queen can be laid to relaxation on Monday after her funeral at Westminster Abbey, rain started to fall as the gang fell silent for the second of reflection. The rain stopped as the gang erupted in applause.
Biden and first woman Jill Biden have been amongst 1000’s of mourners — from locals and vacationers to royals and world leaders — to pay their respects. The president made the signal of the cross and put his hand to his coronary heart as he stood quietly close to the casket within the ornate 900-year-old corridor together with his spouse and U.S. Ambassador Jane Hartley.
Biden then signed the official condolence ebook and attended a reception Sunday at Buckingham Palace hosted by King Charles III. He’s one among 500 world leaders and royals invited to the queen’s state funeral Monday, together with lots of of dignitaries, politicians, navy veterans and British charity staff.
Biden known as Queen Elizabeth II “first rate” and “honorable” and “all about service” as he signed the condolence ebook, saying his coronary heart went out to the royal household.
“Queen Elizabeth lived her life for the individuals,” Jill Biden wrote in a ebook for spouses and ambassadors. “She served with knowledge and beauty. We’ll always remember her heat, kindness and the conversations we shared.”
Because the dignitaries poured in, the clock was ticking down for these looking for a spot within the longest queue many have ever seen to file previous the queen’s coffin. The miles-long queue is predicted to be closed to new arrivals later Sunday so that everybody now within the line can view the coffin earlier than Monday morning, when it is going to be taken to Westminster Abbey for the queen’s funeral.
Household by household, 1000’s of individuals stored becoming a member of the road across the clock, braving chilly in a single day temperatures and waits of as much as 17 hours in a queue that stretched for over 5 miles (8 kilometers).
Lauren Wilson, 36, was within the much-shorter queue for individuals with mobility points. She stated she needed to expertise in individual the coffin mendacity in state.
“The world is in such a bizarre place after which this occurred. It feels extra momentous,” she stated.
She apprehensive that the pageantry surrounding Elizabeth’s dying deprives the queen’s kin of the flexibility to come back to phrases with their loss.
“The household should not allowed to grieve. I discover it fairly heartbreaking,” she stated.
The queen’s eight grandchildren, led by inheritor to the throne Prince William, circled the coffin and stood with their heads bowed throughout a silent vigil on Saturday night.
Among the many international leaders in London was New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who informed the BBC she was humbled to symbolize her nation on the funeral and to witness the nationwide outpouring of grief and respect for the late queen.
“The factor that I’ll take away from this era is simply the fantastic thing about the general public’s response, the kindness that you just see from members of the general public, the persistence, the camaraderie. That has been, for me, probably the most shifting tribute of all, has been the general public response of the British individuals,” she stated.
Folks throughout the U.Okay. may also pause Sunday night for a nationwide minute of silence to recollect the queen, who died Sept. 8 at 96 after 70 years on the throne. Monday has been declared a public vacation, and the funeral can be broadcast to an enormous tv viewers worldwide and screened to crowds in parks and public areas throughout the nation.
Cops from across the nation can be on obligation as a part of the largest one-day policing operation in London’s historical past.
Crowds additionally gathered Sunday close to Windsor Citadel, the place the queen can be laid to relaxation at a personal household ceremony on Monday night.
Steve Beeson got here together with his household of three and a bouquet of flowers he had bought for the queen.
“She has been a continuing steadying of the reins for the nation by way of all of those actually tough instances, the least we are able to do is come and say ‘Thanks,’” he stated.
Camilla, the queen consort, paid tribute to her mother-in-law in a video message, saying the monarch “carved her personal position” as a “solitary girl” on a world stage dominated by males.
“I’ll at all times keep in mind her smile. That smile is unforgettable,” stated Camilla, who’s married to Charles.
Ukraine’s first woman, Olena Zelenska, was additionally amongst mourners paying respects to the queen’s coffin. British royal officers stated Zelenska met with Catherine, the Princess of Wales, at Buckingham Palace on Sunday afternoon. They didn’t launch additional particulars. The British authorities has been among the many strongest supporters of Ukraine because it was invaded by Russia in February.
On Saturday evening, it was the grandchildren’s time to mourn. William and Prince Harry, Charles’ sons, have been joined by Princess Anne’s kids, Zara Tindall and Peter Philips; Prince Andrew’s daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie; and Prince Edward’s two kids — Girl Louise Windsor and James, Viscount Severn.
William stood together with his head bowed on the head of the coffin and Harry on the foot. Each princes, who’re navy veterans, have been in uniform. The group stored slowly, silently submitting previous.
“You can see that they have been considering arduous about their grandmother, the queen,” stated Ian Mockett, a civil engineer from Oxford in southern England. “It was good to see all of them collectively as a set of grandchildren, given the issues which have occurred over the previous few years.”
The lying-in-state continues till early Monday morning, when the queen’s coffin can be moved on a gun carriage pulled by 142 Royal Navy sailors to close by Westminster Abbey for the funeral, the finale of 10 days of nationwide mourning for Britain’s longest-reigning monarch.
After the service Monday on the abbey, the late queen’s coffin can be transported by way of the historic coronary heart of London on the state gun carriage. It is going to then be taken in a hearse to Windsor, the place the queen can be interred alongside her late husband, Prince Philip, who died final yr at 99.
Sumita Tanda put down brilliant pink roses as an enormous floral tribute bloomed close to Windsor Citadel.
“I really feel so privileged to be a neighborhood resident of Windsor,” she stated. “I simply needed to pay my respects.”
Observe AP protection of Queen Elizabeth II at https://apnews.com/hub/queen-elizabeth-ii