A live queue tracker said it was “at full capacity” and entry was “paused” for six hours as wait times reached 14 and the line was 5 miles from Parliament to Southwark Park in South London and then around the park.
Helena Larsen, 76, arrived at the park just too late.
“We literally came here and they closed it to us,” she said, adding that she would likely wait in the area for the gates to reopen.
Caroline Quilty from London came on the line around 4am on Friday.
“I think it’s a moment in history, and if I didn’t come and celebrate it and see it and be a part of it, I would really regret it,” she said.
Meanwhile, a delegation of Chinese officials are reportedly banned from visiting the historic hall in the Houses of Parliament, where the late queen’s coffin is laid out, as geopolitics cast a shadow over the solemn pageantry surrounding the monarch’s death.
China’s ambassador to the UK has been banned from parliament for a year after Beijing sanctioned seven British lawmakers last year for speaking out against China’s treatment of its Uyghur minority in western Xinjiang.
House of Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle’s office on Friday declined to comment on a report by US news outlet Politico saying the Chinese delegation would not be allowed to enter Westminster Hall.
Prime Minister Liz Truss’s office also declined to comment on the Chinese delegation. “Admission to parliament is a matter for parliament,” said spokeswoman Camilla Marshall.
In Beijing, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Mao Ning said she had not seen the Politico report, but that the British government as hosting the Queen’s funeral “must follow diplomatic protocols and proper receive guests”.
A Chinese delegation is expected to attend the Queen’s funeral on Monday, which is at Westminster Abbey church and not in Parliament. Funeral organizers have not published a guest list and it was unclear who from China might be attending.
The sanctioned British lawmakers wrote to officials this week to express concerns about the Chinese government’s invitation to send representatives to the Queen’s state funeral.
Conservative lawmaker Tim Loughton told the BBC the invitation to China should be withdrawn, citing the country’s human rights abuses and the treatment of Uyghurs.
After a day out of the public eye, King Charles III traveled to Wales on Friday for the final leg of his tour of the nations that make up the United Kingdom.
Charles, who was the Prince of Wales decades before his accession, visited Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff for a prayer and reflection service in honor of his late mother. After the service, he and Camilla, the queen’s consort, got out of their car to greet crowds of well-wishers, including schoolchildren waving flags as people shouted “God save the king!” chanted.
The King later traveled to the Welsh Parliament, the Senedd, to receive condolences from lawmakers.
Charles will return to London later Friday and will briefly watch over his mother’s coffin in the evening with his siblings, Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.
A day later, all eight of Queen Elizabeth II’s grandchildren will watch for 15 minutes next to her coffin.
Charles’ sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, will attend the wake, along with Princess Anne’s children Zara Tindall and Peter Philips; Prince Andrew’s daughters, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, and Prince Edward’s children – Lady Louise Windsor and Viscount Severn.
William, who is now the heir apparent after the death of his grandmother and his father who became king, is at the head of the coffin and Harry at the foot. Both princes, who are military veterans, will be in uniform.
Most senior royals hold honorary military positions and have worn uniforms at events to commemorate the Queen. Harry, who served as a British Army officer in Afghanistan, wore civilian clothes during the procession of the Queen’s casket from Buckingham Palace because he is no longer a working member of the Royal Family. He and his wife Meghan retired from royal duties and moved to the United States in 2020.
The King requested both William and Harry to wear uniforms during the wake at Westminster Hall.
Follow Queen Elizabeth II’s AP coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/queen-elizabeth-ii