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The Queen's Queue
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Thousands are queueing to view the Queen’s coffin lying in State at Westminster Hall. Continuous TV feeds show people entering the Hall, filing slowly through and then at the coffin the women curtsying, the men bowing their heads, service people saluting, many crossing themselves, others bowing deeply in prayer and some just looking quietly. Sombre faces, a few in tears but all respectful, mostly in their usual everyday clothing after at least 5+ hours of queueing outside, some with medals, uniforms, or the dark suits of Parliamentarians. Best of all, there is no commentary. The camera sometimes picks out an architectural or decorative detail, or a familiar political face, but otherwise the show is as silent as the hall itself. Every 20 minutes, with the banging of a steel rod on the floor, the guard is changed, the only sound their clattering shoes on the flagstones.

All very British. Few nations have a 900-year-old hall as the centre of government, and the collection of mediaeval, Tudor and 19th Century uniforms to recall their military and cultural histories. Few have the same head of government for 70 years. No music, no trumpets, no popcorn. Just a procession of the public, mute. Sovereigns have died before, and will die again, but this is happening now, in the lives of the respectful cortege, and they wish to be on the record as having made their farewells.

I defy any person to witness two changings of the guard while the mourners go by without being touched by their observances. There is no hysteria, no wailing, no throwing of bouquets. It is a nod, no more, of approbation. Blink, and you would miss it. It is like noticing a famous figure in the street, and nodding to show you watched their TV program, or listened to their music, but did not want to interrupt their day.

All governments proceed at two levels: the instrumental and the symbolic. It is necessary to get things done, and that requires instruments, some with sharp edges, most of them with well-oiled cogs wheels and properly kept records. Taxes have to be collected; births, marriages and deaths recorded, and the drains properly flushed. That is an important half of the job. The Symbolic is the other half. A story has to be told, and a story about a special family is a good thing for a nation to dream about, with everyone finding a character they can identify with, and would wish to meet. The Symbolic is about being a unifying presence, a Chorus to the tangled web of the play, a point of calm around which the wheel revolves, and an image behind which a nation can fall in line.

As I write this the queue is so long, with a 14 hour wait, that the starting point 4 miles away has officially been closed for 6 hours to clear the backlog, but mourners have defied the order, and are waiting in line outside the closed gate. So, they have formed a queue so as to join The Queue.

The British are wryly aware that they are too fond of queues, but they are a fundamental cultural habit. Brits revere the Order of Precedence above all other orders or laws. Things must be fair. Your place in the queue is sacrosanct, to be defended by those before and behind you as severely as your house being your castle, and as having a British birth right. You have won the lottery of life, and your place in the queue is the original block chain, signed, sealed and delivered by the jury of your peers.

History is one damn thing after another, but it is punctuated by a metronome, and the most profound metronome is mortality. Halley’s comet has a periodicity of 75 to 79 years so it is possible to see it twice in a long life, and even more possible to say to a grandchild: “Look at this apparition with me, because I will not see it again, but I hope you will live to do so”.

So passes the Queen.

• Category: Culture/Society 
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  1. Chris Moore says: • Website

    Why all the fuss over that old whore to the ((Cousinhood))?

    Get over yourselves. You’re queuing up as sheeple, just like WW2. You’re proud of that? The ultimate cucks.

    • Replies: @Curmudgeon
    , @Joe Paluka
  2. @Chris Moore

    It would be nice if you were able to get over yourself, at some point.

  3. Notsofast says:

    people wasting their time to stand in line, to stare at at box that they are told contains the remains of the dead “monarch”. apparently these people would line up in order to be able to watch paint dry. the only people more stupid than the brits are americans who will pay big money to stand in line and if you don’t believe me go to disney world.

    • Thanks: Joe Levantine
    • LOL: meamjojo
  4. Mr Thompson is far more generous to symbology and non-scientistic hoo haw here than elsewhere.

  5. meamjojo says:

    This is so awful. I just watched a 7 minute? interview by a BBC reporter of the experience of another reporter as she stood in line for hours and hours. They bonded, they joked, they cried after viewing the box. I was mesmerized by the banality of this interview but the subject being interviewed was quite good looking!

  6. I’ve seen crowded street scenes of London filled with Indians and middle easterners and I’ve heard members of Parliament telling us that those folks are fully British. But in all the public gatherings associated with the Queen’s death they seem to be absent.

    • Agree: Gordo
    • Replies: @sarz
  7. It takes a special type of crazy or celebrity worship that causes thousands of supposedly civilized people to wait 22 hours to view a corpse. The corpse once was the queen, but not any more, it’s her remains, a bunch of dead bones, tissue and skin. Do they think that this worship will get them into a better place in the afterlife or get them riches? I guess this is what happens when a once Christian nation has thrown out their former belief system and now will worship anything.

    • Replies: @Franz
    , @meamjojo
  8. @Chris Moore

    Americans would do the same for any celebrity too, look at the way people act at the home of Elvis Presley and he died 45 years ago.

  9. Wouldn’t it be funny if the box was empty?

    • Agree: Liza
  10. Franz says:
    @Joe Paluka

    a once Christian nation has thrown out their former belief system and now will worship anything


    Reverence shown at the death of a monarch long predates Christianity. It acknowledges the sovereign is both a leader and a symbolic substitute for the land she ruled.

    How true or fitting the royal might at any given time is not relevant. We soberly appraise our own lives during the royal’s wake. Did the crowned head help, hinder, or not really matter?

    Through the death of others we judge our own lives.

  11. Wisdom is Our God and Savior Jesus Christ. ✝️

    Jeremiah 31:9

    “They shall come with weeping, …
    I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.”

    Proverbs 8
    The Excellence of Wisdom

    12 “I, wisdom, dwell with prudence,
    And find out knowledge and discretion.
    13 The fear of the Lord is to hate evil;
    Pride and arrogance and the evil way
    And the perverse mouth I hate.
    14 Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom;
    I am understanding, I have strength.
    15 By me kings reign,
    And rulers decree justice.
    16 By me princes rule, and nobles,
    All the judges of the earth.
    17 I love those who love me,
    And those who seek me diligently will find me.
    18 Riches and honor are with me,
    Enduring riches and righteousness.
    19 My fruit is better than gold, yes, than fine gold,
    And my revenue than choice silver.
    20 I traverse the way of righteousness,
    In the midst of the paths of justice,
    21 That I may cause those who love me to inherit wealth,
    That I may fill their treasuries.

    8.888 ÷ √8 is approximately equal to π.

  12. Gordo says:

    I’m thinking many people are commemorating the end of an era, the belated end of the 20th Century and possibly the end of the monarchy.

    This could be the last goodbye to our old illusions as we start to look at our country with the rose tinted glasses off.

    • Replies: @YetAnotherAnon
  13. sarz says:
    @Ancient Mason

    I saw a bit of the walk-past on ITV and noticed quite a few South Asians.

  14. JR Foley says:

    The Queue ——from USA Joe Biden Amtrak / Donald Forest Gump Trump / Mike Pompeo / George W Bush ( and who’s the bad one in your family?)

    Canada –Justin Jackboot Trudeau / Chrystia Freeland Chomiak Badera and future leader of NATO

    UK Boris Johnson Liz Truss

    ALL are missing the point –the REAL King is Vladimir Zylenskyy of Ukraine –the supra nation over the United Kingdom —-Kint Charles will be soon demoted to Prince.

  15. Anonymous[300] • Disclaimer says:

    It’s all for the cognitive comfort of the pedo dynasty’s servile subjects

  16. @Gordo

    The Queen is/was the totem of our British tribe, it’s almost all we’ve got left as we lose our cities, our industries, our religion, our babies. The British are an occupied and defeated people.

    The contrast between the Britain of 1953 and the Britain of 2022 is almost unbearable.

    These people queuing are mourning a lot more than the Queen, many are mourning what was and comparing it with what is.

    “It is the blight man was born for,
    It is Margaret you mourn for”

    • Thanks: Gordo
  17. dearieme says:

    I didn’t follow the funeral and so on in any detail. I did, however, sample a couple of youtubes and I have seen photos of events in my morning paper. So now I can play a favourite game: how many of the people attending the funeral, and queuing, have I known?

    At the funeral service, three: one ex-Prime Minister (UK), one serving Cabinet Minister (UK) , and one Royal (Continental). So that’s 3 in 2,000 or so (was it 2,000?) i.e. 0.15%: about the infection fatality rate of Covid. Spooky, eh?

    In the queue: I have no idea. If it really was about 250,000 I must surely have known at least one. Since I don’t plan to ask “did you queue?” for years to come I’ll just have to chalk it off as a great unknown.

    I learnt two things that fascinated me. (i) The last Tsar of Bulgaria was forced out of office after The War by the Commies but later served as Bulgarian PM after Eastern Europe was freed. Hats off to him. (ii) Bhutan is a Kingdom and their Queen is a very attractive lass.

    In fact rather a lot of the royal wives were attractive. What could possibly explain that? It must be psychology.

  18. I’m mildly republican in principle but wouldn’t strain myself to overthrow the monarchy even in terms of political priorities. There is the question, intelligently asked in Australia (in contrast to the dumbness of the Brexit question) of what would replace monarchy. A ceremonial president would be no better than a monarch. An active president would be a source of conflict. No president gives too much position to the Prime Minister who should be made to feel a little humble. Trudeau is an example of what happens with a mere Governor General to watch over him.

    And then, is the pomp and ceremony a glorious emblem of Anglo-Scottish (I’m neither) national pride or antiquated nonsense that should be replaced by a simple motorcade and lounge suits? I certainly thought that the funeral was far too military in character. Even The Church struggled to get a look in. The Queen was an ambulance driver. The NHS should have been more prominent. A few school teachers too. She was a Girl Guide. Where were the Scouts and Guides? Commerce is very important to the country. The City Livery Companies do medieval pomp and ceremony of their own. Where were they? The City Guilds have money. Part of the ritual could be donations for a charity in the late monarchs name, although preferably not a home for stray corgis.

  19. dearieme says:

    Aye, corgis are bad little buggers. Welsh, you know.

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