QUEUES to see the Queen lying in state could last 12 hours and stretch for three miles.
The Whitehall chiefs in charge of logistics for the historic five-night vigil had originally estimated that 40,000 people a day would turn up.
However, they now believe the number will be far, far higher and that many people will have to queue through the night.
They estimate numbers could far exceed the 200,000 who paid their respects to the Queen Mother in 2002.
The route will be lined with extra portable loos and water stations to ensure the public are catered for on their way towards central London’s Westminster Hall from Wednesday.
Mourners will pass through airport-style security and only small bags are permitted.
Medics at nearby Guy’s and St Thomas’s hospitals are on standby in case those in the queue fall ill.
It will then move the length of the South Bank of the Thames, passing London Bridge, Blackfriars Bridge, the Globe Theatre, Tate Modern and the London Eye.
Anyone with luggage will have to stop on the route and leave it in a park by Lambeth Palace before rejoining the queue.
Mourners will cross Lambeth Bridge before turning back to enter Westminster Hall.
That will be open 24 hours a day for mourners to pass by the late monarch’s coffin, with insiders revealing people may have to wait up to 12 hours from start to finish.
Before the coffin reaches Westminster Hall — part of the Parliamentary estate — there will be a ceremonial procession through the capital.
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The horsedrawn gun carriage will take in The Mall, Horse Guards Arch and Whitehall before entering the Palace of Westminster.
The coffin will rest on a raised platform in the middle of Westminster Hall and have a round-the-clock military guard.
The royal tradition, dating back to 1936, is known as the Vigil of the Princes.
The Vigil of the Princes first took place when King George V lay in state and his three sons stood guard at the coffin.
The Queen’s coffin itself will be draped in a royal flag and a crown or other regalia could be placed on top.
Members of the public will file past and pay their respects to the late sovereign.
The last person to lie in state was Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in 2002 where an estimated 200,000 people paid their respects.
She had a ceremonial funeral but it also included lying in state.
At the lying-in-state, the Queen’s closed coffin will rest on a raised platform, called a catafalque, in Westminster Hall and will be draped in the Royal Standard with the Sovereign’s Orb and the Sovereign’s Sceptre placed on top.
Each corner of the platform will be guarded around the clock by a vigil of units from the Sovereign’s Bodyguard, the Household Division, or Yeoman Warders of the Tower of London.
For as many people as possible to pay their respects, the coffin will be viewable for 24 hours a day.
Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Canterbury has described the Queen as “the most wonderful example of a Christian life and a Christian death”.
The Most Rev Justin Welby made the touching remarks during a Holy Communion sermon at a special service at Canterbury Cathedral yesterday.
In his sermon, the Archbishop thanked people for attending on the “extraordinarily unexpected Sunday” following the death of Her Majesty.
He said: “God graciously gave us the most wonderful example of a Christian life and death.
“Her late Majesty taught us much if not more about God and grace, both in words and the actions that reinforce them, than any other contemporary figure.
“We remember her for not what she had, but for what she gave.
“What a precious blessing and how precious she was to us and how keenly we feel her loss.”
Security’s strict withbags limit
MOURNERS might have to queue overnight to pay their respects, officials have warned.
The public will pass through airport-style security with only small bags allowed in.
They will receive a wristband towards the end of the queue and only those with one will be admitted.
With extended waiting times, people should consider whether or not to bring children.
People should take suitable clothing, food and drinks for the queue, any medication and a phone charger.
Large bags, flasks and flowers are prohibited on the Parliamentary estate.
People are advised not to film or take photos inside the Palace of Westminster.
More details will be given tomorrow at 10pm.