A standing ovation for the queen mum.

What the foreign papers are saying.
April 8 2002 5:19 PM

A Standing Ovation for the Queen Mum

The powers at 10 Downing Street needn't have fretted about the royal family's decision to have the queen mother lie in state for the four days prior to her Tuesday funeral. According to the Telegraph, the politicos worried that the event might not draw a large enough turnout to keep a steady stream of mourners filing by the coffin.

Advertisement

But come they came. Beginning last Friday, over 100,000 mourners formed lines stretching two to three miles to wait for up to a feet-numbing 12 hours to pay their final respects to the 101-year-old royal, and—as many of the papers note—to be a part of history.

The Telegraph asked:

Why do they do it, come out in such numbers? … Because she was a great lady. Because it seemed right to say goodbye. Because it was something for the kids to remember. Because this is a tourist treat no money could buy. And because, one quote among many, "It's a piece of our history, innit?"

A Telegraph op-ed described the scene as "far more awe-inspiring than television or newspaper images suggest. It is the most impressive spectacle I have ever seen." The Guardian put it in less grandiose terms: "The mood of the crowd was markedly different from that after the death of Princess Diana. Instead of an aura of emotion there was one of respect, no one was sobbing. The crowds were mostly middle aged to old, and at times it resembled the people who go to the Ideal Home Exhibition."

The Independent noted that 30,000 gallons of tea and coffee were handed out to the shivering masses, along with foil blankets and windbreakers to those among them who "had not heeded the police's advice to come suitably dressed" for an overnight wait. The paper also reported a single incident of queue jumping, quoting an official saying, "[The crowd] pointed out how inappropriate it was, and that person­ through embarrassment left the crowd. It was a very British way of handling it."

The queen mum's funeral will be old-fashioned as the lady herself, with traditional hymns and readings—and no Elton.

Laurie Snyder is Slate's copy chief.

TODAY IN SLATE

The Slatest

Ben Bradlee Dead at 93

The legendary Washington Post editor presided over the paper’s Watergate coverage.

This Scene From All The President’s Men Captures Ben Bradlee’s Genius

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again

The XX Factor

I’m 25. I Have $250.03.

My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I’m 25. I Have $250.03. My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.
Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Free Speech

The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 3:13 PM Why Countries Make Human Rights Pledges They Have No Intention of Honoring
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 9:42 PM The All The President’s Men Scene That Perfectly Captured Ben Bradlee’s Genius
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 5:38 PM Justified Paranoia Citizenfour offers a look into the mind of Edward Snowden.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.