A nation mourns. On no other day is this likely to be as noticeable in everyday life in the United Kingdom as it is on this Monday. A country pauses as the monarch embarks on her final journey.
With the state ceremony for the late Queen Elizabeth II, an event of the century is taking place in central London, to which hundreds of state guests from all over the world and hundreds of thousands of spectators are expected.
The rest of the country is largely at a standstill. September 19 this year has been declared an official public holiday, schools are closed and most Britons are off. An overview of what is not or only partially possible on Monday in the UK.
Shops have largely closed, including many supermarkets, which is very unusual in the UK. Normally these are also open on Sundays and public holidays, albeit with limited opening hours. This will also be the case for some centrally located, smaller supermarkets on Monday.
However, several chains – including Morrisons, Aldi and Lidl – want to keep their branches completely closed. According to reports, Morrisons had already turned down the usual loud beep when scanning goods at the checkout at the beginning of the ten-day national mourning – according to their own statements out of respect for the late Queen.
Go to the cinema, museum or theater
Those who want to avoid the royal spectacle and instead spend the day off with a cultural program only have very limited options. The big cinema chains Odeon or Cineworld remain closed on Monday.
London’s West End will also remain much quieter than usual. Many productions – including “Hamilton” and “The Book of Mormon” – will suspend their performances on Monday. A number of museums such as the British Museum or the National Gallery and destinations such as Kew Gardens or the London Zoo will also remain closed.
London’s largest airport, Heathrow fits also adapts its flight plan to the state funeral. More than 100 flights have been cancelled. The flight paths lead through central London or Windsor Castle, where the Queen’s funeral is planned for the evening. The airport said they wanted to make sure there was silence during the ceremony. In the 15 minutes before and after the nationwide minutes of silence at the end of the service, there are therefore no take-offs or landings, nor during the funeral procession in the afternoon at Windsor Castle.
Anyone who spends the holiday in one of the British Center Parcs had to fear at times that they would be put outside the doors of their holiday home on Monday. In the meantime, however, the operators have rowed back. The “small number of guests who do not leave on Monday may stay,” it said – but the tourist attractions in the parks will be closed.
Anyone looking to fortify themselves for the funeral services with a burger from MC Donalds wanted to strengthen, look in the tube during the day. The branches of the fast-food chain are to remain closed until 5:00 p.m. local time. However, the British do not have to do without burgers from the pub. Most pubs remain open, with some opening as early as mid-morning and broadcasting the funeral service and procession.
Contend with everyday life
It is not only on the day of the state funeral that the clocks in the United Kingdom run differently than at normal times. During the Queen’s ten-day national mourning, the British encountered unexpected restrictions in everyday life.
So outraged A Twitter user commented on a sign in the city of Norwich banning the use of a bike rack during the mourning period. Supposedly flowers should be placed there instead. Meanwhile, the British weather service Met Office announced that it would only issue daily weather updates and warnings – also “out of respect during national mourning”.
Go by train
The Transport for London (TfL) authority expects around one million visitors to the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II on Monday. Her boss Andy Byford told the PA news agency: “We are prepared for one of the busiest days Transport for London has ever seen. It’s difficult to say exactly how many more people will travel, but we’re anticipating a potential one million people.” Employees from all parts of the organization worked to ensure that visitors could get around the city. The state funeral begins Monday at 12:00 p.m. (CEST) at Westminster Abbey.
The chairman of the rail network operator Network Rail, Peter Hendy, warned of “extremely busy” trains. “This is the largest public transport deployment since the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.” We work closely with all train operators.
According to the information, around 250 additional train connections will operate on Monday – including some night trains. Planned motorway closures across England are also being suspended to minimize the risk of congestion on the transport network on Monday afternoon when visitors leave the capital.
The London Underground will remain open an hour longer than usual. The “Tube” will run on most lines until 1 a.m. (2 a.m. CEST) so that people can travel safely in the British capital. Hundreds of thousands of mourners and spectators were expected in London. Planned closures of motorway sections around the metropolis have been postponed until after the state funeral.
© dpa-infocom, dpa:220919-99-814839/8 (dpa)