Business is booming.

Updates: Lines for Public Viewing of Queen Elizabeth’s Coffin Are Expected to Stretch for Miles

Raindrops had caused the multicolored dress that adorned the stick figure of Queen Elizabeth, drawn by Phoebe White, aged 5, to run across the page despite a protective plastic coating.

“We love the Queen,” Phoebe had written in a large pencil heart, marked by the nighttime showers that had soaked London.

But on Wednesday afternoon, the sun broke through as thousands of people crowded the area around Buckingham Palace to watch tributes to the late monarch and hopefully catch a glimpse of her successor when her coffin is taken to Westminster Hall later in the day.

At nearby Green Park, elaborate scrapbooks leaned on ten-foot crowns made from wicker trees, and paintings, collages, cards and flowers were piled high or laid in rows or spirals on the grass for the crowd to walk through and ponder.

These organized public displays were part of the ritual of grief that has conquered the British nation since the Queen’s death in Scotland on Thursday at the age of 96. Now that grief centers on London after the Queen’s casket ended its journey from Scotland to her abode Tuesday night at Buckingham Palace. On Wednesday afternoon, it travels in a formal procession to Westminster Hall, where she will lie for four days before her state funeral.

“She is such a great role model and inspiration to women and girls,” said Antonia Parsons, 34, her voice catching as she looked at her young daughter. “She is the only queen, rather than king, that I and probably my daughter will ever know.”

Ms Parsons, who lives in the Brixton area of ​​London, is not a Royalist but said she was deeply moved by the tribute to the Queen, who she described as a “signifier of stability, or carry on”. Amid a cost of living crisis and political unrest, Britain needs the Queen now more than ever, Ms Parsons said.

“We know we’re going to have a difficult winter, and I think that doubles the sadness people are already feeling,” she added.

The technology allowed even those not in attendance to participate, with countless people making video calls to friends and relatives showing them the piles of tributes. As an American woman carried her phone through the crowd, a voice was heard on the other end of the line saying, “It’s a moment in history, isn’t it?”

It was in that spirit that many had come out on Wednesday. Mary Williams, 73, and her husband, Nigel Williams, also 73, who are from Portsmouth in southern England, had come to Green Park with their friend Mary Sellar, 71, to leave flowers. They were impressed with the organization surrounding the event and were glad they had come to participate.

“Even at our age, we’ve known nothing but her,” Mrs. Sellar said, “and we’re still getting used to the idea of ​​a king on the throne.”

Mr Williams pointed to the transition point for the country.

“Even now singing the national anthem as ‘God Save the King’ feels strange to us,” he said.

“We have a new Prime Minister, a new King, even a new Metropolitan Police Commissioner, all in just a few days,” he said. But amid the cost of living crisis and rifts in the UK, he said he hoped Scotland’s pursuit of independence after the Queen’s death would “turn the other way” and that the UK would remain as it is. it is. .

Yvonne Frater, 72, and her sister-in-law Alison Frater, 66, said they both felt a personal connection to the Queen.

“It’s like losing the ancestress of the family,” said Yvonne, a native of Jamaica, where the queen is still the head of state, who moved to Britain as a child. “And when that matriarch goes, it’s not knowing what happens next.”