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Queen death: People arrive to see Queen lying in state two days early

Vanessa Nanthakumaran said she ‘didn’t want to miss it’ (Picture: PA)

A woman has arrived to see Queen Elizabeth II lying in state two days before people can visit.

Countless mourners are expected to wait hours in miles-long queues to pay their respects to the late monarch in the Palace of Westminster on Wednesday.

The line has not opened yet but people are already arriving where the entrance is expected to be set up.

Vanessa Nathakumaran, 56, from Harrow, showed up at 12pm today at Lambeth Bridge.

‘I really really want to be part of it’, she said. ‘I don’t want to miss it in case… they said they are probably going to control the crowds if [the queue] gets too long.’

Mourners will not be allowed to camp and will be given numbered wristbands to indicate their place in the queue so they are able to leave and come back, security staff have said. Full details will be released at 10pm on Tuesday.

Glucose bars will be Vanessa’s lifeline while she waits for a spot, while she is going to call her daughters to change her bag and bring warmer clothes.

Queen Elizabeth has been monarch for Vanessa’s entire life (Picture: AP)
Thousands are expected to pay their respects (Picture: Getty Images Europe/PA)

Speaking about her admiration for Her Majesty, the administrative assistant added: ‘She has done a good service. She was very devoted. She has done a service to our country, Britain and also international and the Commonwealth.

‘I do respect her way of kindness, how she treats everyone equal, the religions and the communities. She sees everyone as equal.’

The Queen’s death on 8 September fell on an already difficult day for Vanessa — the seven-month anniversary of her husband’s death.

She has admired the British royal family since she was a girl growing up in Sri Lanka, before she moved to the UK in the 1980s to study.

A love for all things royal runs in her family, with her great uncle, Sir Vaithilingam Duraiswamy, knighted by King George VI for his services to Sri Lanka. Her daughter, Praveena, also met the Queen as an air cadet.

Vanessa said: ‘I’m really proud of our family being involved in the time of the Queen’s life.’

Westminster Hall will be open for four days to allow the public to view the Queen’s closed coffin until her state funeral on Monday.

Anticipating the dizzying queues, security staff have been placed around Parliament, Victoria Tower Gardens, Lambeth Bridge and along the Covid Memorial Wall.

But security officials anticipate the lines will even spill all the way to Tower Bridge some three miles away.

Inside Victoria Tower Gardens, portaloos and crowd control infrastructure has been added.

No 10 has advised commuters to ‘change their working patterns accordingly’ as London will be ‘extremely busy’ in the coming days.

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

For more stories like this, check our news page.

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