Hardy royal fans defied the no-camping rules ahead of the Queen’s funeral today, as people of all ages set up tents, lounge chairs and even a makeshift minibar to get their hands on premium seats for the spectacle.
Dozens of people started lining up in front of The Mall in central London this weekend, despite rules – seemingly loosely enforced – that prevented people from setting up camp.
Several said friends and family told them they were “crazy” to keep the vigil, but they insisted they wouldn’t miss the opportunity.
Among them were school friends Christine Manning, 75, and Dianne Donohue, 73, from Leek in Staffordshire, who slept in a pop-up tent.
Mrs. Donohoe, a retired housewife and grandmother of three, said, “Yes, the advice was not to camp, but we didn’t obey. We made a good catch up, we enjoyed it.
Among them were school friends Christine Manning, 75, (right) and Dianne Donohue, 73, (left) from Leek in Staffordshire, who slept in a pop-up tent
‘We slept in the tent and at 4:30 I woke up and asked Chris if she was awake – she was, so we had a whiskey and lemonade and a pig pie.
‘A few more hours of sleep, then on to the prosecco. We had to tear down our tent at 7am because the police said so, but we couldn’t so we had to get a boy to help us.
“We’re out of pork patties unfortunately, but we’ve got sausage rolls and we’ve got some gin now that the whiskey’s gone – we’re shredded.”
Miss Manning, a retired waitress, added: “My kids said we were crazy. Well, “mental” is the word they used. They said we were idiots. I said it had to be done.’
The mall was a frenzy yesterday, as people arrived to lay flowers nearby, glimpse Buckingham Palace and Horse Guards Parade, and pack their vantage points for the funeral procession as it made its way from Westminster to windsor.
Dozens of people started lining up at The Mall in central London this weekend, despite rules – seemingly loosely enforced – that prevented people from setting up camp
Tim Thompson, 35, from New Brunswick, Canada, and Charlie Shirley, 36, from north London, also slept in a tent in the Mall.
The pair became friends after sitting side by side for William and Kate’s wedding in 2011, and together again on Saturday in the same spot.
Miss Shirley said, ‘We do all the royal events together, it’s like being a family.
“I saw Tim at the Queen’s Jubilee and we said the next time we saw each other would probably be at the Queen’s funeral — we didn’t expect it to be three months later.”
Mr Thompson said, ‘I have four days of vacation 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 stay until after the funeral.
Hardy royal fans defied no-camping rules ahead of the Queen’s funeral today, as people of all ages set up tents, lounge chairs and even a makeshift minibar to get their hands on premium seats for the spectacle
She said, “You don’t come all the way here to watch it on TV. I want a front row seat to history.
‘My mother said, ‘I can’t believe you’re doing that.’ I said, “I can’t believe you didn’t think I would.” Everyone thinks I’m crazy, but I got five and a half hours of uninterrupted sleep on my first night camping here, so I’m fine.”
Half-retired teacher Ian Rhodes, 66, and his wife Sue, 58, from Alton in Staffordshire, arrived at The Mall at 11 a.m. yesterday to claim their spot – though they said they would sleep in sun loungers rather than pitch a tent. to make.
Mr Rhodes said: ‘The only other time I’ve queued for anything at night was when Stoke City arrived at Wembley for the cup final in 1972, and I was waiting in the club shop at night with my friends to get tickets. People have said we’re crazy, but common sense is relative.’
Ms Rhodes said the couple’s two adult sons were concerned that their parents would ‘rough it up’ in London at night, but said: ‘I told them we would do it anyway – when did their mother ever done what she was told?’
Paulette Galley, of Boston in Lincolnshire, said she was determined to spend the night at The Mall. The 54-year-old kitchen assistant, originally from South London, said: ‘I may not be sleeping, but I don’t care.
“She was my queen and I want to pay tribute to her. There’s no way I wouldn’t be here.’