London 17/09/2022 Saturday – Queen Queue
As we all know, the Queen has died and one of the longest queues ever seen is taking place in London. The mother of all queues became an attraction in itself: performance art, pilgrimage, madness… The queue’s meaning being in the eye of the beholder, a reflection of their own views on the Monarchy, the UK, humanity. The queue to pay respect to the Queen at Westminster Hall. The Queen lying in state.
Well, we weren’t prepared to join that queue. I thought walking along the queue taking photos could be a thing to do, to mark the occasion in my own way. We were thinking of going on Monday, bank holiday, but then realised there’d be no queue then. This afternoon, the weather was glorious! So we decided to go for a wander around St James’ Park, Buckingham Palace and wherever else the fancy took us, perhaps finish at the main queue itself before going home.
I dusted off my Lumix and my 45-200 lens, charged the spare battery and off we went…
We got off at Embankment – having meant to get off at Charing Cross, and were confronted by a sea of people. Evidently everyone had a similar idea! An elaborate labyrinth of metal barriers had been erected all around the area – in preparation for Monday’s parade, but also to control the flow of human traffic around the park and towards Buckingham Palace.
The familiar, linear, route had been transformed into a snaky route around the park, which made no logical sense, unless the logic was to confuse and discourage people from getting anywhere near Buckingham Palace. It felt like a game, one we were destined to lose. Gates and twists and turns, until after about an hour’s walking we were confronted with an enormous queue and were told it was a 3 hour wait to get to Buckingham Palace.
I wanted to see the flowers, I went to see them when Diana died. I never forgot the smell – back then there was a sea of flowers everywhere, St. James’ included and no crowd control. I guess lessons were learned from that chaos of dead flowers and this time things were a lot more tightly controlled. So it wasn’t to be this time. We just made our way back. There were so many people around we gave up on going to the main queue and just went home…