The cortege carrying the coffin of the late Queen Elizabeth II (Picture: Getty)

People who wish to visit the Queen lying in state will be subject to an airport-style security search, according to official government guidance published today.

Westminster Hall will be open 24 hours a day to allow mourners to pay their final respects from 5pm on Wednesday, September 14 until 6.30am on Monday, the day of the Queen’s state funeral.

Whitehall staff tasked with the logistics behind the historic vigil reportedly believe around 1million could attend – matching the number who arrived to see Pope John Paul II lying in state in Rome in 2005.

The guidance warns people will face a ‘very long’ wait and will be required to stand for ‘many hours, possibly overnight, with very little opportunity to sit down’ – amid concerns queues could stretch for five miles and last 20 hours.

Waiting on behalf of others is also not allowed – only those given wristbands at the end of the queue will be granted entry.

Once visitors reach the front of the queue, they will ‘go through airport-style security and there are tight restrictions on what you can take in,’ the advice states.

There is a strict bag policy in operation, with only small bags measuring 40cm x 30cm x 20cm allowed. Larger items must be left at a bag drop facility which has limited space.

A list of banned items includes food or drink of any kind, which must be consumed or binned before the security search point.

Only clear water bottles are permitted, which must be emptied before entering the Palace of Westminster.

We have published guidance for those wishing to attend Her Majesty The Queen’s Lying-in-State, which opens at 5pm on 14 September

Use this guide to plan your visit

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Prohibited items will be confiscated and the police will be called to deal with any illegal items.

Officers may also conduct searches while people are queuing.

‘Stewards and police officers will patrol the queue. Antisocial or inappropriate behaviour (including queue-jumping, excessive consumption of alcohol or drunken behaviour) will not be tolerated and you will be removed from the queue,’ the guidance says.

The Queen, pictured at Royal Ascot in 2018, died peacefully at Balmoral on Thursday (Picture: Getty)

The King and Queen Consort pictured at Westminster Hall (Picture: REUTERS)

Expected timeline of key events over the next few days

Friday September 9: Charles gives first address to the nation
Saturday September 10: Charles formally proclaimed King
Sunday September 11: Queen’s coffin moved Holyroodhouse
Monday September 12: Queen lies in state in Edinburgh
Tuesday September 13: Queen’s coffin moved to London
Wednesday September 14: Official procession of the coffin
Through to Saturday September 17: Queen lies in state
Sunday September 18: Funeral preparations
Monday September 19: State funeral takes place
Tuesday September 20: National period of mourning ends
Monday September 26: Royal Family’s period of mourning comes to an end

People are also asked to ‘dress appropriately for the occasion’ and not wear clothing with offensive or political slogans.

They are forbidden from taking pictures or video or using mobile or handheld devices in the security area and inside the Palace of Westminster.

Her Majesty, who died peacefully at Balmoral on Thursday, aged 96, will be in a closed coffin resting on a raised platform, called a catafalque inside Westminster Hall.

The King is leading senior royals in a procession behind the Queen’s cortege on foot this afternoon, as it travels the 1.1mile journey from the Palace of Holyroodhouse to St Giles Cathedral, where it will lie in rest for 24 hours.  

Armed police and security services have formed rings of steel around the buildings in Edinburgh, as 10,000 officers prepare for what has been described as the biggest security operation ever seen in Scotland.

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