See How Great Britain Mourns For the Queen
See How Great Britain Mourns For the Queen

The nation is beginning to pay its respects to the Queen as the first tearful mourners begin to file past her coffin - with the first person to see the monarch's coffin a royal superfan who had camped out since Monday.

Hymn-singing crowds of hungry campers eating 'pizza blessed by God' and military veterans who kept themselves awake to avoid crumpling their clothes are among hundreds of thousands of well-wishers waiting to pay a final tribute to the fallen monarch over the coming days.

The Queen's coffin arrived at Westminster Hall following a procession from Buckingham Palace this afternoon and will remain until her funeral at Westminster Abbey and burial in Windsor on Monday, September 19.

King Charles, William and Harry reunited to mourn and march behind the coffin as hundreds of thousands lined the streets of central London, many of them in tears, to watch the coffin make its final journey out of Buckingham Palace at 2.22pm.

From 5pm, mourners began to file pass the coffin inside the Palace of Westminster and pay their final respects to the Queen.

The queue is already approaching three miles in lengths, snaking from Victoria Tower Gardens close to Tower Bridge.

The first member of the public to pay a personal tribute to the Queen told of how she fought back tears after experiencing 'the most memorable and unique moment of my life'.

Vanessa Nathakumaran, 56, an admin assistant from Harrow, north west London, said she had to battle to control her emotions as the Queen’s coffin came into view.

She told MailOnline: 'I was trying not to cry. I wanted to pay my respects in a dignified way but it was so hard. There were such mixed emotions. It was a privilege to be here but it was so sad and solemn. It was a moment that will live with me forever.

'It was the most memorable and unique moment of my life. It was so quiet and peaceful and seeing her coffin it really came home to me that she is really gone. I curtsied when I went past and my eye was drawn to the crown on top of the coffin. I feel down wined and shattered.’

‘At Princess Diana’s funeral I went along and lined the road to pay my respects and signed the book of condolences but this was a much more personal experience. I camped out for two days sleeping on a bench and in the pouring rain but it was worth it. I wanted to be part of the experience and pay my respects.‘

Also among the first to see the monarch lying in state was Annie Daley. She told MailOnline: 'I felt sorrowful being in there with the Queen’s coffin. I found it a shattering experience. The Crown was gleaming atop the coffin, as was the orb and sceptre.

'When we approached the coffin, everyone was silent, it was so, so quiet. I looked round and the Yeoman guards were like statues.

'We waited for days and when it came to it the whole experience was over in seconds, we went round the coffin once and down the stairs.'

Annie’s friend Grace Gothard, who was third in the queue and had also been there since Monday, broke down as she said: 'It was very sad, it reminded me of when my own mother died.

'I was taken aback to see the Queen lying in state, even though we’d been waiting three days to do so. May she rest in peace.'

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