New friends, hot tea: queuing mourners bond over Queen

STORY: One mourner told Reuters he enjoyed the experience despite the long wait, as he befriended others in the line who had come from all over England and the world. "Spirits are very high," he said.

Volunteers distributed the warming refreshments as temperatures were expected to fall to 51 degrees Fahrenheit (11 Celsius), according to a government-run queue tracker, which posts on social media regular updates on the queue.

Student Mariam told Reuters she decided to help out the thousands of people lining up to pay their respects after a friend of hers was offered free tea while he was queuing two nights ago.

"I wanted to come and be a part of it," she told Reuters as she prepared more cups of coffee.

According to the queue tracker, shortly before midnight local time, the waiting time to reach Westminster Hall was up to 14 hours.

The state funeral on Monday (September 19), to be attended by nearly 100 presidents and heads of government, is likely to be one of the biggest ceremonial events ever held in Britain.