Family

Paying My Tribute to the Queen 我對女王的致敬

In the evening of 8 September, I was awakened by my wife from my nap. The television broadcast was disrupted by the latest news from the Buckingham Palace:

The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon.

The King ad the Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral and will return to London tomorrow.

As some of those like me, who were born, brought up and enjoyed those glorious moments of Hong Kong, I believed the Queen definitive had an important place in our hearts.

Following the ceremonies in Scotland, the Queen’s coffin had returned to London on 15 September and rested in Westminster Hall of Palace of Westminster.

Her Majesty The Queen’s Lying-in-State at the Palace of Westminster was then opened to the public to pay for their respects, until 6:30am on the day of the State Funeral on 19 September.

九月八日黃昏,太太把我從小休中推醒,電視正轉播白金漢宮的最新消息:

The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon.

The King ad the Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral and will return to London tomorrow.

對於像我這些在英國管治下出生,成長及有幸渡過最光輝時刻的香港人,相信英女王在我們心中佔有一定地位。

緊隨著在蘇格蘭的哀悼儀式,女王靈柩在九月十五日運返倫敦 Palace of Westminster 内的 Westminster Hall 及隨即開放給公眾瞻仰,九月十九日上午舉行國葬。


Relevant information on the official ceremonies and public mourning activities were published in the GOV.UK, Twitter and Facebook pages. And to allow public to get the latest information regarding the Lying-in-State queueing status, the “Her Majesty The Queen’s Lying-in-State” Queue Tracker was also available in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport‘s official YouTube channel.

To pay our tribute to the Queen, my wife planned to join the queue on Saturday, 17 September.

With reference to the details available, we decided to go to London in the early morning and hopefully be returned to Kingston before mid-night.

相關官方儀式及公眾活動安排均在英國政府的網站,Twitter 及 Facebook 專頁發放,而為方便公眾人仕參與瞻仰女王靈柩及瞭解最新輪候情况,Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport 更在其官方 YouTube 頻導提供即時的 “Her Majesty The Queen’s Lying-in-State” Queue Tracker。

為了給女王作最後致敬,太太打算在星期六,九月十七日到倫敦加入瞻仰女王靈柩輪候行列。

参考了行程資訊後,我們决定大清早便到倫敦,希望可在零晨前返回 Kingston。

Announced route of the Lying-in-State Queue

After preparing some sandwiches for the day, we took the train to Bermondsey station. Following the road signs along the roads, we walked to Southwark Park and joined the Lying-in-State queue.

早上六點半起床,準備好三文治,便乘火車到 Bermondsey 車站,再步行至 Southwark Park

Jamaica Gate, Southwark Park
Southwark Park
Southwark Park

To allow one to temporarily leave the queue for food and go to the toilet, stewards at the endpoint of the queue gave visitors a wrist-band and reminded us to wear it during the queueing period.

Just as what announced in the official webpage, route of the Lying-in-State queue would begin from Southwark Park, along Southbank to Lambeth Bridge. Walking across the bridge and joined the waiting zone at Victoria Garden, right next to the Westminster Abbey.

為方便在隊伍中稍為離開買食物,上廁所,入口的 stewards 會為每一位輪候人仕帶上手帶,並正式開始今天的輪候。

行程一如網上公佈,由 Southwark Park 沿 Southbank 步行至 Lambeth Bridge,過橋再轉入 Westminster Abbey 傍的 Victoria Garden

Today’s progression seemed to be much faster than we initially expected and it took less than nine hours to arrive at Lambeth Bridge. Stewards along the progression all said that it’s “Way better than before“. Some also mentioned that, in view of the large number of visitors, the administrative team had made quite a number of streamlining over the flow of the queueing and mourning, in order to shorten the time of queueing.

When Westminster Abbey appeared right in sight, people in the mourning queue all got excited and showed sign of happiness on their faces.

Nevertheless, when just stepped into the Victoria Garden, I noticed that the electronic panel showed that “Queue Duration from this point approximately 2 – 3 hours“. Oh my God … it’s still a long way to go !!!

今天的行程真的比預期快很多,不用九個小時便到達 Lambeth Bridge,沿途的一眾 stewards 都説 “Way better than before”。 亦有說因太多人到來瞻仰,政府在流程安排上已作出相應的改善,以減少輪候時間。 當看到 Westminster Abbey 就在眼前,心想輪候多時,走了差不多7公里,終點在望,大家都顯得非常開心、雀躍。

只是當踏足 Victoria Garden,第一眼看到顯示板,原來還要多等兩、三小時,我的心情可説是直墮谷底!!!

Horseferry Playground

Quite different from what we have previously in the queue, the Victoria Garden had been arranged as a waiting zone of approximately 30 rows. Visitors had to stroll along the crowd control barriers to move on. As time gone by and dusk was set, people in the queue all showed trace of tiredness and became heavyhearted.

以與先前不同,Victoria Garden 被劃分成約三十多行的等候區,輪候人仕需沿著分隔欄前進。 隨著時間慢慢過去,加上夜幕低垂,大家面上開始露出一絲絲倦容,心情亦變得沉重。

After spending more than two hours, we finally came to the end of the waiting zone. Stewards advised us to place unfinished foods into rubbish bins or the food bank collection points, then followed the instructions to start the security screening.

According to information available from official website, visitors would go through an airport-style security screening. However, what we actually faced was much rigorous than that. My little bottle of sanitising gel had to be thrown away.  And much worst than this, those snacks belonged to the little girl on the next lane were also taken away by the security guard.

好不容易地捱過等候區,stewards 提醒大家須把食物,飲品掉棄,或放至 Food Bank 的收集點,隨著指示進入下一步的安檢區。

據政府網站所説,安檢要求有如乘搭飛機航班,但實際所見則是有過之而無不及。我身上一小瓶的消毒啫喱亦要拋棄,更慘的是連隔鄰小妹妹的零食亦一一被充公!

Victoria Garden

Right after the Security screening, we came to the St Stephen’s Entrance that lead to the catafalque in Westminster Hall where the Queen’s coffin rested. As our mobile phones had to be switched off, there was no recording for the Queen’s mourning. However, to our surprise, my wife observed that there were some close-up shots of us shown in the official Live Streaming.

離開安檢區後便步進 Westminster Hall,静候指引從 St Stephen’s Entrance 進入瞻仰女王靈柩。 由于進入安檢前必須先關掉手機,待離開 Westminster Hall 後才可使用,那當然無法記錄低瞻仰過程。 不過回家後太太竟發覺原來官方的 Live Streaming 中有我們一家的特寫,在茫茫人海中亦稱得上是個奇跡!

The Big-Ben

As a recap, we spent slightly less than twelve hours for the queueing and mourning. Personally, I found the initial part before reaching London Bridge the hardest. Partly because we were not used to the rhythm of the progression and partly due to the cold and windy morning. Walking along those narrow lanes without any sunshine was a terrible experience. And I was absolutely tired after walking slowly for the next 7 Km along Southbank. Luckily enough there were numerous food stalls where you could enjoy tasty foods and drinks, as well as mobile toilets for you to relax.

Another observation that worth mentioning and learnt from was the well behaviour of the crowd. Throughout the extremely long queueing period, I didn’t saw any rushing nor jumping in the queue. Everyone stayed calm, leisurely chatting with and even sharing food generously among people that had never met before.

Within the moment of mourning in the Westminster Hall, the atmosphere was solemn and people were sad. There were several gentlemen who were previously ahead of me in the queue, changed into formal dressing, before paying their tributes to the Queen. Despite I might not share the same deep feelings as them for the Queen, I felt that all the fatigue was worthwhile, having the solemn experience to pay homage to the Queen.

今天的輪候用上差不多十二小時,回看整個瞻仰過程,我覺得頭段比較辛苦,一來是仍未適應節奏,加上晨早風大,氣温低,走在沒有陽光的內巷真的極不好受。 而往後緩緩向前行行企企的走了七個多小時,説真的,確是非常疲累!還好的是沿途有食物攤檔提供咖啡及各式飲品,更有流動厠所給大家使用,整體上安排得頗貼心。

另一樣值得稱讚的是輪候人群的質素,在這十多個小時相聚中,我沒有見到有任何爭先恐後,插隊的情況。 而大家素未謀面,又竟可大方分享帶來的食物,這都是要好好學習之處。

在 Westminster Hall 內,氣氛嚴肅,哀傷落淚的人亦不少;而排在我附近的好幾位人仕更先換上恤衫,結領帶,披上整潔的外套及皮鞋才作瞻仰。 雖然我自己對女王沒有他們那種深刻的感受,但能親身作這莊嚴的體驗及向女王致敬,我又覺得一切疲累都是值得的。


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