Huge cheers as King Charles and Prince William pay surprise visit to mourners queuing see Queen’s coffin

Britain's King Charles greets people queueing to pay their respects to Britain's Queen Elizabeth following her death, in London, Britain, September 17, 2022. REUTERS/Phil Noble

THE King and Prince William today surprised mourners waiting in the five-mile queue to see the Queen lying in state.

Crowds cheered as the monarch and his son arrived to thank people for waiting up to 26 hours to pay their respects to Her Majesty at Westminster Hall.

The King meeting members of the public waiting in line to see the Queen’s coffin

There was a sea of phones snapping pictures of the father and son

The Prince of Wales shook hands with those closest

Prince William also chatted to those in the long queue

Crowds pressed up against the barriers to try to get a closer look

The monarch sharing a laugh with those in the queue

Hundreds of royal fans in line in Lambeth, south London, applauded as Charles, 73, and William, 40, emerged together.

Many took photos and pressed against the metal barriers, eager to exchange a word with the pair.

The father and son shook hands with those closest and smiled and waved at those in the back.

Several shouted “God Save the King” and “God Save the Prince of Wales” as they passed by.

One woman offered His Majesty condolences as he shook her hand, and another shouted: “I can’t believe this.”

Dozens bellowed “hip hip hooray” as the duo moved down the pavement, stopping for a few moments with each person.

Several people could be seen calling their friends and relatives to tell them what they had just witnessed.

Wait times stretched to more than 25 hours overnight as thousands braved cold temperatures to see the Queen lying in state.

At about 1.15am, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s (DCMS) online tracker said people should expect to wait at least 25 hours if they joined in Southwark Park.

Mourners were then warned not to make the journey until further notice as the area was “near total capacity”, but the gates reopened at around 9am.

Those already in line were urged to brace for cold weather, as temperatures dipped below 7C in the early morning.

Undeterred, a steady stream of people joined the queue, many wearing coats and jumpers.

Tatie Kirst, 38, a project manager who had just joined the back, said: “I think I’m prepared, I brought my good coat, I have a stool if I need to sit, I’m getting food and water, and we’re going to walk the way.

“I think there is always a question, Is it worth it? Can I make it? And hopefully, yes.

“I wanted to be part of this, pay my respect to the Queen.”

The crowd beamed back at the Prince of Wales

The King greeting people queueing to pay their respects to his mother in London

The father and son visiting the Metropolitan Police Headquarters earlier today