Head of the print department of The News Alan Cooper from Southseytells what it was like to visit the recumbent state of the Queen
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s lie was a moment in history that will never be repeated. So my wife Marion and I felt completely compelled to visit London to pay our last respects to our monarch.
The Queen has been a constant part of my life, as it has been for tens of millions of us. Now she was gone. Long live the king! We all feel the white heat of history being forged before our eyes.
During the silver jubilee in 1977, I listened to Johnny Rotten and the Sex Pistols instead of going to street parties. By the Golden Jubilee I had a better idea of what the monarchy meant to Britain, and by the Diamond Jubilee I realized that the Queen was so intrinsic to the British makeup that the alternatives were unthinkable. President Boris? No, thank you.
So at 11.30pm on a Friday, having driven into London after work, Marion and I found ourselves at the back of the queue in Southwark Park, Bermondsey, amongst a sea of people for the same reason. Some grueling 13 hours later, I walked out of the Palace of Westminster after one of the most exciting moments of my life.
The difficulties of the journey disappeared in an instant. After zigzagging around Southwark Park for almost three hours, we found ourselves with purple LISQ wristbands and we knew we were on our way.
The highlight was seeing Tower Bridge sparkling at 3am. The low points were stopping for long periods of time where you couldn’t even sit down. Somewhere near Golden Hinde about 4 o’clock in the morning we lost the will to live as the cold from the Thames seeped into our bones and we began to ache all over.
All are now forgotten. We went to London and visited the Queen. And we know we can never do it again.