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Queen Elizabeth’s Funeral: I Feel Privileged, Says Last Person To See Queen’s Lying-in-state

The final person to witnessed Queen Elizabeth II’s lying-in-state says it was “a real privilege” to pay respects to the late monarch.

“Chrissy Heerey”, who is a current serving member of the RAF from Melton Mowbray, said it was “one of the highlights of my life”.

Thousands of people line-up to file past the Queen’s coffin, with the final mourners who left after 06:30 BST.

When it’s 10:44 the queen’s coffin will be taken in a procession to nearby Westminster Abbey for the final state funeral.

Doors of the Abbey are opened for special guests to start arriving at 08:00, ahead of the service scheduled to commence by 11:00.

Late queen Elizabeth II lying-in-state lasted for four-and-a-half days.

The queue closed shortly after 22:40 on Sunday but anyone already waiting with a wristband was assured they would be allow to pay respect to the coffin.

At its peak, people were waiting for more than 24 hours in a long queue that snaked through central London for almost seven miles (11.2km), ending in a three-mile zigzag in Southwark Park.

Ms Heerey, who was viewing the lying-in-state for the second time, told BBC Radio 5 Live it felt “very surreal”.

“I couldn’t believe I was there,” she said. “I just felt very honoured that I had the opportunity to be able to go in there and see her and say my farewell.”

Sima Mansouri, the second last person to witnessed lying-in-state, said that she thought she and Ms Heerey would be “friends forever” after bonding in the queue.

“Everybody just wanted to come together and be happy and peaceful and talk about memories,” Ms Mansouri, who is originally from Iran but lives in Croydon, south London, said.

“[Chrissy] was a little nervous, being the last person, but I said, ‘Don’t worry. I’ve got your back. I’m here’.”

Mother and daughter Christine and Sarah Rogers, who had travelled from Woodbridge in Suffolk, were the final two people to be handed wristbands to join the queue.

The crowds behind them burst into applause as they were told they would be the last people allowed to enter Westminster Hall.

Sarah said: “It means a lot to come and pay our respects, because she’s been a constant in my life. To just go there and say thank you… it means a lot.”

As the lying-in-state drew to a close on Monday morning, members of parliamentary staff followed the final mourners, with Black Rod Sarah Clarke, a senior officer in the House of Lords, being the last to walk past the coffin.

Earlier, several hundred people were turned away from the queue, including Vidur and Natasha Pabari from Chigwell.

Vidur described the queen’s death as “heartbreaking” to miss out, while Natasha said: “We will have to pay our respects another way.”

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