Standing or inching along for hours for the lying in state at Westminster left me with aches in bones I didn’t even know I had.

I expected to join at London Bridge — only to discover the queue had stretched and had to trace it past Tower Bridge, through the narrow cobbled Shad Thames and the back streets where I finally found the start at Bermondsey Wall, on the opposite riverbank from Wapping, then followed the slow queue back along those same streets!

This was only the queue to join the line that began by Tower Bridge, where wristbands were given with numbers.

But that didn’t guarantee your place, only a guarantee that you were in the queue. The rest was up to you — keep up with those ahead. The line often opened up with gaps, mingling with the public along the Southbank.

We now had the sites of London in the bright sunshine, a grand walking tour with views of the Tower of London opposite, HMS Belfast, London Bridge and the Millennium Bridge.

You could stop off at pop-up takeaways and porta loos en route, or follow the marshals guiding you to catch up to others ahead now slowing to a snail’s pace passing Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and Royal Festival Hall, with more pop-up food bars, buskers and thankfully more porta loos.

The line comes to a jam every so often, a wave that sweeps back from the security checks at Westminster. But there was a long way to go before that point.

We approached Westminster Bridge by nightfall, inching down to Lambeth Bridge and across to Millbank to start the last leg, the most tedious part of this long journey negotiating 100 zigzag rows of barriers in Victoria Gardens.

But at least you could see Parliament getting closer, then the security checks with bag searches and body scans - no food or liquids allowed.

You queue for hours for just a few minutes to see the state coffin draped in the Royal Standard, adorned by the Imperial State Crown, Orb and Sceptre. You pass slowly, respectfully and silently in two rows either side, with some bowing, others even in tears.

I watched the changing of the watch with the Queen’s Guards and Yeomen Tower of London Beefeaters that takes place every half-hour. I am glad I caught that moment at 11.40pm, after hours and miles of queuing, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.