Queen’s funeral: King Charles III, Prince William and Harry seen moments before procession

The Queen has made her final and saddest journey to Westminster Abbey as Britain says farewell to its longest-serving monarch and the royals mourned a beloved mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.

Her Majesty was carried in her oak coffin to the gun carriage used by her parents and was followed by her son, the King, and her relatives including the Prince of Wales and Duke of Sussex. 

The grieving Royal Family are saying farewell to Elizabeth II at her state funeral along with 2,000 VIPs and an estimated 2million people in central London.

The State Gun Carriage carrying the Queen’s coffin began its funeral procession from the Palace of Westminster to Westminster Abbey at around 10.45am, arriving just before 11am. A single toll from Big Ben signalled the start of the service at Westminster Abbey, where kings and queens have been crowned since 1066.

Despite the huge crowds, there was absolute silence as around 200 pipers and drummers of Scottish and Irish Regiments, the Brigade of Gurkhas and RAF played as the procession went through Parliament Square. The Queen’s own piper played a lament that echoed through the heart of London.

Walking behind the carriage were the King and his siblings, followed by the Prince of Wales, Duke of Sussex and Peter Phillips. The State Gun Carriage has also been previously used for the funerals of King Edward VII, King George V, King George VI, Winston Churchill, and Lord Mountbatten.

There was complete silence from the crowd close to Parliament Square, as the State Gun Carriage carrying the Queen’s coffin slowly moved past. The crowd, momentarily still and with phones held aloft to capture the moment, was around 10-people thick in places, as tens of thousands thronged the streets to say goodbye to the monarch and witness a moment of history.

Prince George and Princess Charlotte travelled to Westminster Abbey in the same car as the Queen Consort, with the Princess of Wales arriving with them. They arrived at the church shortly after some of the Queen’s grandchildren including Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.

World leaders including Joe Biden and Emmanuel Macron arrived at Westminster Abbey around an hour before the service began. The congregation of 2,000 sat in solemn silence as Her Majesty arrived. 

The wreath which adorns the Queen's coffin includes flowers requested by King Charles. Cut from the gardens of Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Highgrove House, the flowers and foliage have been chosen for their symbolism

The wreath which adorns the Queen’s coffin includes flowers requested by King Charles. Cut from the gardens of Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Highgrove House, the flowers and foliage have been chosen for their symbolism

The Royal Family stand and sing as they say goodbye to Britain's beloved Queen

The Royal Family stand and sing as they say goodbye to Britain’s beloved Queen

King Charles III, Camilla, the Queen Consort, Princess Anne, and her husband Vice Admiral Tim Laurence, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Prince William, and Kate, Princess of Wales with their children Princess Charlotte of Wales, Prince George of Wales, Britain's Prince Harry, and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, David Armstrong-Jones, Earl of Snowden, Peter Phillips, The Duke of Gloucester, Prince Michael of Kent and the Duke of Kent follow the coffin

King Charles III, Camilla, the Queen Consort, Princess Anne, and her husband Vice Admiral Tim Laurence, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, and his wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Prince William, and Kate, Princess of Wales with their children Princess Charlotte of Wales, Prince George of Wales, Britain’s Prince Harry, and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, David Armstrong-Jones, Earl of Snowden, Peter Phillips, The Duke of Gloucester, Prince Michael of Kent and the Duke of Kent follow the coffin

The view in Westminster Abbey above the Queen -  where she married and was crowned more than 70 years ago

The view in Westminster Abbey above the Queen –  where she married and was crowned more than 70 years ago

The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II with the Imperial State Crown resting on top is carried by the Bearer Party into Westminster Abbey past the grave of the Unknown Soldier

An emotion Prince Charles arrives in the Abbey after the Queen is placed by the altar

An emotion Prince Charles arrives in the Abbey after the Queen is placed by the altar

Her Majesty is carried into her funeral watched by her mourning family

The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II with the Imperial State Crown resting on top

The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II with the Imperial State Crown resting on top

The Queen is carried to Westminster Abbey - the scene of her coronation and wedding - for her state funeral today

The Queen is carried to Westminster Abbey – the scene of her coronation and wedding – for her state funeral today 

The Dean of Windsor has given the bidding, ahead of the first hymn, ‘The day thou gavest, Lord, is ended’, written by John Ellerton, and which evokes the image of one day, one era, leading into another.

He told the congregation: “Here, where Queen Elizabeth was married and crowned, we gather from across the nation, from the Commonwealth, and from the nations of the world, to mourn our loss, to remember her long life of selfless service, and in sure confidence to commit her to the mercy of God our maker and redeemer.”

The Bidding will be followed by Baroness Scotland, Secretary General of the Commonwealth, delivering the First Lesson in tribute to The Queen’s lifetime of dedication and service to the family of nations.

The Lesson is taken from Corinthians 15, and includes the line, ‘O death, where is thy sting?’.

The wreath which adorns the Queen’s coffin includes flowers requested by King Charles.

Cut from the gardens of Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Highgrove House, the flowers and foliage have been chosen for their symbolism.

They include rosemary, for remembrance, and myrtle cut from a plant which was grown from a sprig of myrtle in the Queen’s wedding bouquet. Myrtle is an ancient symbol of a happy marriage.

Also included are English oak to symbolise the strength of love, pelargoniums, garden roses, autumnal hydrangea, sedum, dahlias and scabious.

These are in shades of gold, pink and deep burgundy, with touches of white, to reflect the Royal Standard.

The Queen begins her final journey from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey

The Queen begins her final journey from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey

Pallbearers gently carried the late monarch's oak coffin, carrying her crown, orb and sceptre

Pallbearers gently carried the late monarch’s oak coffin, carrying her crown, orb and sceptre

The King, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward walk to the abbey behind their mother

The King, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward walk to the abbey behind their mother

Prince Andrew was fighting tears as the Duke of Sussex followed him

Prince Andrew was fighting tears as the Duke of Sussex followed him

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, stands next to King Charles, Anne, Princess Royal, and William, Prince of Wales, as they salute during the state funeral

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, stands next to King Charles, Anne, Princess Royal, and William, Prince of Wales, as they salute during the state funeral

In an scene of extraodinary mourning and majesty, the Queen moves through Parliament Square

In an scene of extraodinary mourning and majesty, the Queen moves through Parliament Square

The King and the royal family march to Westminster Abbey from Westminster Hall

The King and the royal family march to Westminster Abbey from Westminster Hall

The extraordinary scene in Westminster Abbey as the Queen

The extraordinary scene in Westminster Abbey as the Queen 

Kate rests a caring arm on George and his sister Charlotte as they arrive at the Abbey

Kate rests a caring arm on George and his sister Charlotte as they arrive at the Abbey

Prince George, Prince Charlotte and their mother, the Princess of Wales, walk into Westminster Abbey for today's service

Prince George, Prince Charlotte and their mother, the Princess of Wales, walk into Westminster Abbey for today’s service 

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrives for the State Funeral

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrives for the State Funeral

A packed Westminster Abbey prepares for the Queen to arrive

A packed Westminster Abbey prepares for the Queen to arrive

There were cheers and clapping as Prince William, the Princess of Wales and their children George and Charlotte were swept into Parliament Square. King Charles III and Queen Consort, Camilla arrived minutes later.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex travelled down The Mall with a police escort. Harry was seen looking sombre as he was driven in a Range Rover from Wellington Arch, down Constitution Hill and on The Mall towards St James’ Palace. 

He then stood side by side with his brother, before the royals  entered Westminster Hall, where the Queen had been lying in state. 

The UK’s most important church began filling up from 8am as the congregation arrived up to three hours early – including Kate Middleton’s parents – as huge crowds of mourners packed the procession route outside and tens of thousands more went to Windsor, where Her Majesty will be buried later.

Prince George and Princess Charlotte travelled to Westminster Abbey in the same car as the Queen Consort, with the Princess of Wales arriving with them. They arrived at the church shortly after some of the Queen’s grandchildren including Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie.

Michael and Carole Middleton were among hundreds of VIPs who arrived at the UK’s most important church – where Her Majesty married Prince Philip and had her coronation.

2,000 royals, world leaders and hundreds of members of the public have began filing into the Abbey as billions around the world will watch Her Majesty’s state funeral. 

Most of the VIPs arrived by coach, meeting at the Royal Hospital Chelsea before being put on a bus into Central London. Britain’s ministers – past and present – were among the first arrivals including Nadham Zahawi, Ben Wallace and Jacob Rees-Mogg. But US President Jo Biden went to the Abbey in The Beast – his bomb-proof limousine. 

Michael and Carole Middleton, the parents of Kate, the Princess of Wales, arrived two hours early for the service, followed by Tom Parker Bowles, the son of Queen Consort, Camilla. They were also on a bus together – despite their close links to the Royal Family. Celebrities at the funeral include TV personality Bear Grylls.

Funeral flowers in the abbey featured myrtle – which was used in the Queen’s wedding bouquet as is royal tradition. The huge white and green displays of blooms included asiatic lilies, gladioli, alstroemeria, eustoma and foliage of English oak, weeping birch and the sprigs of myrtle.

Around the coffin will stand the four tall yellow candles which usually rest around the grave of the unknown warrior at the entrance to the historic church.

And outside hardy royal fans defied no-camping rules, as people of all ages set up tents, deck chairs and even a makeshift minibar to grab premium seats for the spectacle that will see 2million flood into the capital. By 8.30am member of the public were told that the procession route was full and began diverting people to Hyde Park to watch on the big screens.

The Princess of Wales arrives at the Queen's funeral at Westminster Abbey today by car with Prince George, Princess Charlotte and the Queen's Consort

The Princess of Wales arrives at the Queen’s funeral at Westminster Abbey today by car with Prince George, Princess Charlotte and the Queen’s Consort 

It was confirmed last night that the Prince and Princess of Wales will bring George, nine, and Charlotte, seven, would take part, with sources calling it a 'collective family decision'

It was confirmed last night that the Prince and Princess of Wales will bring George, nine, and Charlotte, seven, would take part, with sources calling it a ‘collective family decision’

'As parents they have, of course, thought long and hard about whether their children should accompany them,' a source said. 'Of course little Louis is too young, but they think George and Charlotte are up to it'

 ‘As parents they have, of course, thought long and hard about whether their children should accompany them,’ a source said. ‘Of course little Louis is too young, but they think George and Charlotte are up to it’

George, Charlotte and Catherine in a car with Camilla, the Queen Consort, as they travel along the Mall to Westminster Abbey

George, Charlotte and Catherine in a car with Camilla, the Queen Consort, as they travel along the Mall to Westminster Abbey

George, Charlotte and Catherine in a car with Camilla, the Queen Consort, as they travel along the Mall to Westminster Abbey

George, Charlotte and Catherine in a car with Camilla, the Queen Consort, as they travel along the Mall to Westminster Abbey 

Norway's King Harald V, 85, is seen on crutches next to his wife Queen Sonja of Norway as he makes his way into Westminster Hall

Norway’s King Harald V, 85, is seen on crutches next to his wife Queen Sonja of Norway as he makes his way into Westminster Hall

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown looks sombre as he makes way into Westminster Hall with his wife Sarah Brown

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown looks sombre as he makes way into Westminster Hall with his wife Sarah Brown

Spain's exiled former King Juan Carols, 84, makes his way into Westminster Hall next to his wife, the former Queen Sofia

Spain’s exiled former King Juan Carols, 84, makes his way into Westminster Hall next to his wife, the former Queen Sofia

Wang Qishan, China's vice president, arrives at Westminster Abbey today for the state funeral of the Queen

Wang Qishan, China’s vice president, arrives at Westminster Abbey today for the state funeral of the Queen

King Charles III is seen on The Mall ahead of The State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II 

Britain's Prince William, Prince of Wales, and his children arrive at Westminster Hall. Charlotte was next to her father. George was in the back

Britain’s Prince William, Prince of Wales, and his children arrive at Westminster Hall. Charlotte was next to her father. George was in the back

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive

U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive, on the day of the state funeral and burial of Britain's Queen Elizabeth

U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive, on the day of the state funeral and burial of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth

A long line of mourners walk into the UK’s most important church 

The congregation were in place several hours before the Queen's coffin arrived

The congregation were in place several hours before the Queen’s coffin arrived

Prime Minister Liz Truss arrives at Westminster Abbey for the service this morning

Prime Minister Liz Truss arrives at Westminster Abbey for the service this morning

Former prime minister Theresa May and her husband Philip May arrive at Westminster Abbey for the service this morning

Former prime minister Theresa May and her husband Philip May arrive at Westminster Abbey for the service this morning

Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy arrives at Westminster Abbey ahead of the state funeral this morning

Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy arrives at Westminster Abbey ahead of the state funeral this morning

Penelope Knatchbull, Countess Mountbatten of Burma - who was friends with the Queen and Prince Philip - at the Abbey

Penelope Knatchbull, Countess Mountbatten of Burma – who was friends with the Queen and Prince Philip – at the Abbey

U.S. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden arrive for the State Funeral

U.S. President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden arrive for the State Funeral

The Macrons arrived from Paris yesterday - when they went to see the Queen lying in state

The Macrons arrived from Paris yesterday – when they went to see the Queen lying in state

French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte file into the Abbey today as world leaders gathered to say farewell

French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte file into the Abbey today as world leaders gathered to say farewell

French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte file into the Abbey today as world leaders gathered to say farewell

Former prime minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie Johnson arrive at Westminster Abbey this morning

Former prime minister Boris Johnson and his wife Carrie Johnson arrive at Westminster Abbey this morning

Former prime minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha outside Westminster Abbey this morning

Former prime minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha outside Westminster Abbey this morning

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon arrives for the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey today

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon arrives for the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey today

President of Ireland Michael D Higgins spoke to clergy as he arrived at the funeral

President of Ireland Michael D Higgins spoke to clergy as he arrived at the funeral

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro (right) and his wife Michelle Bolsonaro arrive at Westminster Abbey this morning

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro (right) and his wife Michelle Bolsonaro arrive at Westminster Abbey this morning

Carole Middleton and Michael Middleton, the parents of Kate Middleton, arrive at Westminster Hall this morning

Michael and Carole Middleton – the parents of the Princess of Wales, Kate, arrived two hours early for the state funeral

Tom Parker-Bowles, the son of Queen Consort, Camilla, is among the 2,000 people invited today. Pictured with his wife Sara

Tom Parker-Bowles, the son of Queen Consort, Camilla, is among the 2,000 people invited today. Pictured with his wife Sara

Queen Letizia of Spain and the King of Spain King Felipe VI head for Westminster Abbey

Queen Letizia of Spain and the King of Spain King Felipe VI head for Westminster Abbey

Israel's President Isaac Herzog arrives at Westminster Abbey in London for the Queen's state funeral

Israel’s President Isaac Herzog arrives at Westminster Abbey in London for the Queen’s state funeral 

Tom Parker Bowles arrives at Westminster Abbey ahead of the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II this morning

Tom Parker Bowles arrives at Westminster Abbey ahead of the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II this morning

King Charles III's goddaughter India Hicks arrives at Westminster Abbey this morning for the Queen's funeral. Lady Pamela Mountbatten appears to be in a wheelchair. The 93 year old is a first cousin of Prince Philip and a bridesmaid when Elizabeth wed Philip at the Abbey in 1947

King Charles III’s goddaughter India Hicks arrives at Westminster Abbey this morning for the Queen’s funeral. Lady Pamela Mountbatten appears to be in a wheelchair. The 93 year old is a first cousin of Prince Philip and a bridesmaid when Elizabeth wed Philip at the Abbey in 1947

Jacob Rees-Mogg walks into Westminster Abbey as Britain and the world mourns the Queen

British minister Nadhim Zahawi was among one of the first guests to arrive at the Abbey followed shortly afterwards by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace

British minister Nadhim Zahawi was among one of the first guests to arrive at the Abbey followed shortly afterwards by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace

British minister Nadhim Zahawi was among one of the first guests to arrive at the Abbey followed shortly afterwards by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace

Secretary of State for Education, Kit Malthouse arrives at Westminster Abbey

Secretary of State for Education, Kit Malthouse arrives at Westminster Abbey

Bear Grylls waves on the day of the state funeral and burial of Queen Elizabeth II outside Westminster Abbey this morning

Bear Grylls waves on the day of the state funeral and burial of Queen Elizabeth II outside Westminster Abbey this morning 

First Lady of Gabon, Sylvia Bongo Ondimba, arrives at Westminster Abbey ahead of the state funeral this morning

First Lady of Gabon, Sylvia Bongo Ondimba, arrives at Westminster Abbey ahead of the state funeral this morning

The Abbey fills ahead of the Queen’s funeral today

Commons leader Penny Mordaunt arrives at Westminster Abbey this morning ahead of the state funeral for Queen Elizabeth II

Commons leader Penny Mordaunt arrives at Westminster Abbey this morning ahead of the state funeral for Queen Elizabeth II

Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg and Education Secretary Kit Malthouse arrive at Westminster Abbey this morning

Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg and Education Secretary Kit Malthouse arrive at Westminster Abbey this morning

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer (right) arrives for the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II held at Westminster Abbey today

British Labour Party leader Keir Starmer at Westminster Abbey, on the day of state funeral and burial of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth

Former Conservative leader William Hague walks into the Abbey

Christopher Geidt, the Prime Minister's Independent Adviser on Ministers' Interests, and Emma Charlotte Angela Neill arrive at Westminster Abbey

Christopher Geidt, the Prime Minister’s Independent Adviser on Ministers’ Interests, and Emma Charlotte Angela Neill arrive at Westminster Abbey

Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, takes his seat in the Abbey

Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty, takes his seat in the Abbey

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and Chris Heaton-Harris, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, arrived with VIPs on a coach

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly and Chris Heaton-Harris, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, arrived with VIPs on a coach

Former MP turned Facebook executive Sir Nick Clegg followed Lib Dem leader Ed Davey

Former MP turned Facebook executive Sir Nick Clegg followed Lib Dem leader Ed Davey 

Cop26 president Alok Sharma arrives at Westminster Abbey this morning ahead of the state funeral for Queen Elizabeth II

Cop26 president Alok Sharma arrives at Westminster Abbey this morning ahead of the state funeral for Queen Elizabeth II

Two guests greet one another with a hug and a kiss on a sad day for the world

Two guests greet one another with a hug and a kiss on a sad day for the world

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford arrives for the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford arrives for the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II

The congregations queues patiently to enter the Abbey at 8am this morning

The congregations queues patiently to enter the Abbey at 8am this morning

David Morgan-Hewitt, aka 'Mr David', from the Goring Hotel in Belgravia, centre right, would always greet the Queen when she arrived and was at today's funeral

David Morgan-Hewitt, aka ‘Mr David’, from the Goring Hotel in Belgravia, centre right, would always greet the Queen when she arrived and was at today’s funeral

Representatives of the British military at Westminster Abbey today, on the day of the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II

Representatives of the British military at Westminster Abbey today, on the day of the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II

The doors of Westminster Abbey opened at 8am, ahead of the arrival of the first mourners for the funeral of the Queen. The King’s Guards trooped through the gates of Abbey, with two soldiers stationed at the metal gates awaiting the start of proceedings.

Amid concerns that London will be ‘full’ today – and a lack of hotel rooms – scores of people began bedding in to line The Mall in central London over the weekend, despite rules – seemingly loosely enforced – preventing people from setting up camp.

This morning, before dawn, stewards told campers to take down their tents. Huge crowds have also formed in Windsor, where the Queen will be buried this evening.

Several who slept in central London overnight said friends and family told them they were ‘mad’ to carry out the overnight vigil, but insisted they would not miss the occasion.

Among them were school friends Christine Manning, 75, and Dianne Donohue, 73, from Leek in Staffordshire, who slept in a pop-up tent.

: A general view inside Westminster Abbey ahead of The State Funeral Of Queen Elizabeth II on September 19

: A general view inside Westminster Abbey ahead of The State Funeral Of Queen Elizabeth II on September 19

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan and his wife, Saadiya Khan, arrive at the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II this morning

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan and his wife, Saadiya Khan, arrive at the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II this morning

Two Cardinals of the Vatican delegation arrive on the day of the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II this morning

Two Cardinals of the Vatican delegation arrive on the day of the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II this morning

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng arrive for the funeral service of Queen Elizabeth II today

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng arrive for the funeral service of Queen Elizabeth II today

Father-of-two Pranav Bhanot, from Chigwell in Essex, who was honoured for his work supporting people throughout the pandemic, helping to deliver 1,200 free meals and Nancy O'Neill, arriving at the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II today

Father-of-two Pranav Bhanot, from Chigwell in Essex, who was honoured for his work supporting people throughout the pandemic, helping to deliver 1,200 free meals and Nancy O’Neill, arriving at the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II today

Former Tory leader William Hague attends the state funeral of Her Majesty the Queen at Westminster Abbey this morning

Former Tory leader William Hague attends the state funeral of Her Majesty the Queen at Westminster Abbey this morning

People take selfies as they wait for the State Funeral Procession of Queen Elizabeth II on Whitehall

People take selfies as they wait for the State Funeral Procession of Queen Elizabeth II on Whitehall

Mrs Donohoe, a retired housewife and grandmother-of-three, said: ‘Yes, the advice was not to camp but we disobeyed. We’ve had a good catch-up, we’ve enjoyed it.

‘We were sleeping in the tent and at 4.30am I woke up and asked Chris if she was awake, she was, so we had a whisky and lemonade and a pork pie. A couple more hours’ sleep, then onto the prosecco.

‘We had to take our tent down at 7am because the police told us to, but we couldn’t do it, so we had to get some lad to help us.

‘We’re out of pork pies sadly but we’ve got sausage rolls, and we’ve got some gin now the whisky’s run out – we’re chipper.’

Miss Manning, a retired waitress, added: ‘My kids said we were mad.

‘Well, “mental” is the word they used. They said we were idiots for doing this.

‘I said it had to be done.’

Among those at the top of the Long Walk were Windsor Castle warden Shannon Carroll, 27, and her pals Samantha Geraghty, 24, and Heidi, 26, who declined to give her surname.

Shannon told MailOnline they had arrived at 6am after getting up at 4am to walk from nearby Maidenhead where they all live.

She added:‘I’m here to pay my respects to an incredible woman who also happens to be my boss. I’ve worked at the Castle for five years and it’s the least I can do.

‘The Queen was a great employer and an inspirational leader. I don’t think we will ever see anyone like her again.’

A group, wrapped in Union Flags, camped out on chairs overnight to be in London for the funeral

A group, wrapped in Union Flags, camped out on chairs overnight to be in London for the funeral

Crowds camping out at night in Whitehall and Parliament Square to await the funeral

Crowds camping out at night in Whitehall and Parliament Square to await the funeral

Tents on Whitehall this morning in the shadow of the Women of World War II memorial

Tents on Whitehall this morning in the shadow of the Women of World War II memorial

Mourners wrapped in blankets wait with others at Horse Guards ahead of the State Funeral Of Queen Elizabeth II. Many have camped

Mourners wrapped in blankets wait with others at Horse Guards ahead of the State Funeral Of Queen Elizabeth II. Many have camped

People slept on the floor and on chairs wrapped in blankets ahead of the first state funeral for almost 60 years

People slept on the floor and on chairs wrapped in blankets ahead of the first state funeral for almost 60 years

Members of the public camped out over night on The Mall near Buckingham Palace, ahead of a State Funeral

Members of the public camped out over night on The Mall near Buckingham Palace, ahead of a State Funeral

The line of people sleeping in London was several deep and stretched towards Green Park and St James' Park

The line of people sleeping in London was several deep and stretched towards Green Park and St James’ Park

A Pearly King and Queen line the Procession Route in London

A Pearly King and Queen line the Procession Route in London

Shannon said:’I queued up for 12 hours overnight Friday into Saturday and that was a very poignant and sombre experience.

‘It was incredibly quiet and still but it was at the same time very respectful and I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.’

Heidi said:’We are prepared for the day with snacks and drinks and it looks like it will stay dry. We will have a great view of the procession as it comes up the Long Walk and goes into the castle.

‘When we go here there were quite a few people here already but up the front where we are was surprisingly empty. I think we have the best spot to see history in the making.’

Samantha said: ‘It was an early start but well worth it. We will have a great view but we will have to watch the funeral service itself on our phones as we can’t see the big screens.’

Mourners camped out close to Parliament Square this morning

Mourners camped out close to Parliament Square this morning 

The street is cleaned in advance of the State Funeral Procession of Queen Elizabeth II amid already huge crowds

The street is cleaned in advance of the State Funeral Procession of Queen Elizabeth II amid already huge crowds

The Mall was a frenzy of activity yesterday, as people arrived to lay flowers nearby, get a glimpse of Buckingham Palace and Horse Guards Parade, and bag their vantage points for the funeral procession as it makes its way from Westminster to Windsor.

Tim Thompson, 35, from New Brunswick in Canada, and Charlie Shirley, 36, from north London, also slept in a tent on the Mall.

The pair became friends after being sat next to each other for William and Kate’s wedding in 2011, and resumed their same spot together on Saturday.

Miss Shirley said: ‘We do all the royal events together, it’s like we’re a family.

‘I saw Tim at the Queen’s Jubilee and we said that the next time we see each other would probably be at the Queen’s funeral – we didn’t expect it to be three months later.’

Mr Thompson said: ‘I keep four days’ holiday a year for royal events, so I had to be here.’

American businesswoman Nicole Alford, 40, paid around £1,300 for a last-minute flight to London on Thursday, and said she would camp out until after the funeral.

She said: ‘You don’t come all this way and then watch it on the TV. I want a front-seat of history.

‘My mom said: “I can’t believe you’re doing that.”

‘I said: “I can’t believe you didn’t think I would do that.”

‘Everybody thinks I’m crazy, but I managed five-and-a-half hours’ uninterrupted sleep on my first night camping out here, so I’m fine.’

Semi-retired teacher Ian Rhodes, 66, and his wife Sue, 58, from Alton in Staffordshire, arrived at the Mall at 11am yesterday (SUN) to claim their spot – although they said they would sleep in deckchairs rather than pitch a tent.

Mr Rhodes said: ‘The only other time I’ve queued overnight for anything was when Stoke City got to Wembley for the cup final in 1972, and I waited overnight at the club shop with my friends to get tickets.

‘People have said we’re mad, but sanity is relative.’

Mrs Rhodes said the couple’s two adult sons were a bit concerned about their parents ‘roughing it’ overnight in London, but said: ‘I told them we were going to do it anyway – when has their mother ever done what she was told?’

Paulette Galley, from Boston in Lincolnshire, said she was determined to stay on The Mall overnight.

The 54-year-old kitchen assistant, originally from south London, said: ‘I might not get any sleep but I don’t care. She was my Queen, and I want to pay my respects to her.

‘There is no way I wouldn’t be here.’

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