Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II there was an amazing response from the public as people from every walk of life wanted to express their gratitude for her service and total commitment.The lying in state was one of the most memorable events attracting people from all over the world willing to queue for hours in order to walk past the Queen’s coffin.
Recently, I met up with a SriLankan man, Kannan Thevathas, who queued with his wife, Sharmini, for hours.Firstly, I wanted to know what had inspired them to go in the first place and he informed me that, although it had initially been his wife’s idea, he was so pleased to have gone and to have had this once in a lifetime experience.
He went on to inform me that the wait had lasted 17 hours and having arrived at midnight they had to wait three hours just to join the queue, eventually walking past the coffin at 5 o’clock in the afternoon.
I was interested to hear what it had been like in the early hours and Mr Thevathas was only too happy to say what an amazing experience it was. Despite the cold time passed very quickly thanks to the wonderful friendliness of the others in the queue.In addition the security staff were very supportive and encouraging.Instead of people spending their time on their mobile phones it appears it was noticeable that they engaged in conversations, a point that Mr Thevathas was at pains to emphasise, “everyone was introducing themselves which made us feel really comfortable”.When asked if anyone particular stood out I learnt that one lady had also queued to see the lying in state of the Queen Mother in 2002.
He went on to say how it was really interesting as the rest of the city began to wake up with early dog walkers, shops opening and then people heading to work. The organisation,he continued, was excellent with special pass holders only being allowed to join the queue when there were major gaps and he was impressed by the fairness of it all.
When I asked Mr Thevathas his opinion on the experience as a whole, he said it was “different” and he “was so happy my wife had suggested going”.
Judging by this gentleman’s comments the Queen’s lying in state will forever remain in his memory as a cherished experience.