How mourners lined the streets to pay tribute to King George VI. to be seen lying in the state

How mourners lined the streets to watch the Queen's father, King George VI, lie in state. Photo credit: Getty Images

Queuing to see the king’s coffin has been dubbed ‘The Great Queue’ by Londoners (Picture: Getty)

Thousands watched the story unfold in London today.

The Queen’s coffin walked across the city from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall before lying in state for people to say their final goodbyes.

Huge crowds craned their necks and held up cameras as King Charles led his family through the somber procession.

He was flanked by his sons William and Harry, who followed close behind.

The monarch’s siblings Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward were also by his side as they walked through the city.

Tonight, a coiling snake winds its way through the city as people anxiously wait to say their final farewells to the Queen’s coffin.

Images of huge crowds, wavy lines and sad faces are reminiscent of 1952, when the coffin of the Queen’s father, George VI, passed through the city.

15 February 1952: A silent crowd on Edgware Road, London, watches the funeral procession of King George VI. from Westminster Hall to Windsor. Original publication: Picture Post - 5678 - Funeral of the King and Days of Mourning - pub. 1952 (Photo by Thurston Hopkins/Picture Post/Getty Images)

Silence fell on Edgeware Road as King George VI’s funeral procession passed in 1952 (Image: Thurston Hopkins/Picture Post/Getty Images)

Members of the public wait to see the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II adorned with a royal standard and the Imperial State Crown and drawn by a gun carriage of the King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery during a procession from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster . in London on September 14, 2022. - Queen Elizabeth II will rest at Westminster Hall in the Palace of Westminster from Wednesday until hours before her funeral on Monday, with giant snakes passing her coffin to pay her respects. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE/AFP) (Photo by LOIC VENANCE/AFP via Getty Images)

Crowds await the Queen’s coffin on its journey to Westminster Hall today: 14 September 2022 (Image: AFP)

King George died on February 6, 1952 at the age of 56 after a battle with lung cancer. Young Elizabeth was informed of the news while she was in Kenya with Prince Philip.

Buckingham Palace announced to the world at 11.15am that day, releasing the following statement: “The King, who retired to rest in his usual health last night, fell peacefully asleep in his sleep this morning.”

George VI’s coffin was later drawn in procession to Westminster Hall, where, like the Queen’s now, it was to be laid in pomp.

On February 11, 1962, the royal family made their way through the streets of London to accompany the coffin on its journey.

FILE - The funeral procession of the late King George VI slowly turns from Kingsway to Aldwych in London on February 11, 1952, en route to Westminster Hall. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to pour into London's medieval Westminster Hall from Wednesday September 14, 2022 to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II, whose coffin will rest for four days until her funeral on Monday. (AP Photo/Driver)

The funeral procession of the late King George VI as he turned from Kingsway to Aldwych in 1952 (Image: AP)

(left to right) The Prince of Wales, the Duke of Sussex, King Charles III, Princess Roya, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex walk behind the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, which was bearing the Imperial Standard in clad the Royal Standard is State Crown placed on t, op, as it will be carried on a horse-drawn carriage of the Royal Horse Artillery of the King's Troop during the ceremonial procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall, London, where she will lie in state before her funeral Monday. Picture date: Wednesday September 14, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story DEATH Queen. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

King Charles, accompanied by his close relatives, chose to walk during today’s procession (Image: PA)

The Dukes of Gloucester and Edinburgh followed the coffin on foot, followed by members of the late monarch’s royal household.

When King Charles died today, Elizabeth II, then 25, traveled by car with Queen Mary, the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret, rather than walking.

Huge crowds had lined the path to catch a glimpse of the passing royal entourage.

Many wore black as a sign of respect to family.

12 February 1952: Part of the queue that formed to pass the body of King George VI as it was laid out in Westminster Hall, London. (Photo by William Vanderson/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Britain has always had a penchant for organized queuing (Image: William Vanderson/Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Members of the public queue on Lambeth Bridge in London September 14, 2022 to view the coffin of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II as it lies at Westminster Hall in the state. - The Chamber of Parliament was opened to the public, many of whom had braved downpours to camp out overnight to pay their respects after the Queen's flag-draped coffin was brought out of Buckingham Palace. (Photo by Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP) (Photo by LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP via Getty Images)

An online tracking system is available for those waiting to see the Queen’s coffin this week (Image: AFP)

As the procession reached Westminster Hall, the coffin was then carefully placed on a dais under a vigil.

For those who couldn’t make it to the capital, the day’s events were extensively broadcast on television and also on the radio.

BBC presenter Richard Dimbleby’s poignant commentary on the event would go down in history.

He said to the audience: ‘Never lay a sleeping king safer, better guarded than here, with a golden candlelight to warm his resting place and the muffled footsteps of his devoted subjects to keep him company.’

February 12, 1952: Boxer Alex Buxton in the line of mourners waiting to pay tribute to the late King George VI. to pay their last respects, which lies in state at Westminster Hall, London. (Photo by Monty Fresco/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

Thousands waited to pay their respects to the late King George VI (Image: Monty Fresco/Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)

Queues form on Lambeth Embankment to see the Queen lying in stste at Westminster Palace

In comparison: snakes on Lambeth Embankment in London (Photo: Alex Lentati/LNP)

At Westminster Hall, the public was allowed to view the coffin and at times had to queue for four miles to do so.

The snakes were nicknamed “The Great Queue” as they had reached such a length.

King George VI had died in February, meaning those wishing to pay his respects had to wait in freezing conditions.

But despite the weather, people still flocked to London to say their final goodbyes.

The crowd waiting to pass the catafalque of King George V at Westminster Hall, London, January 1936. Illustration of George V and Edward VIII, A royal souvenir, from FGH Salusbury, A souvenir book published as Edward VIII being crowned after the death of his father, George V, (Daily Express Publication, London, 1936). (Photo by The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images)

The Great Queue by Londoners (Image: The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images)

Over the next three days, around 304,000 people passed the coffin of the late king.

Numbers were lower than George V, which has been attributed to the impact of widespread television coverage.

After the last day of laying out, it took a team of three jewelers two hours to dust off the crown jewels that lay on the coffin in preparation for the funeral.

Decades after the death of George VI. in 1952 the nation now turns to the memory of the Queen.

Final respects

Police officers organize the crowds that line up to greet King George VI in 1952. seen (Image: Evening Standard/Getty Images)

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Jack Dredd/Shutterstock (13388734v) Heavy rain pours down on people queuing to see the Queen at Westminster Abbey People queuing to see the Queen at Westminster Abbey in heavy rain, London - September 13, 2022

Britain’s weather was just as moody in 2022 (Credits: Jack Dredd/Shutterstock)

Like her father, huge lines have formed across town for those anxious to get a chance to say their final goodbyes.

Royal fans can even track online how long the line was at Westminster Hall. This morning it had retreated 2.5 miles through town.

Barriers and portable toilets have been set up in Westminster in anticipation of up to a million visitors.

The Queen will lie in state for four days before the nation bids farewell at her funeral on Monday morning.

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Justin Scacco

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