Skelton Road Premier Convenience Store owner waits until 11 a.m. to see Queen Elizabeth in state at Westminster Hall


The owner of a Diss newsagent has described how he was moved to tears after waiting 11 a.m. to see the Queen lying in state.

Ravi Thirunavukkarasu, who runs Premier Convenience Store, had joined the queue alone at 11.40am on Sunday September 18, braving wet weather for almost an entire day to pay his respects to his beloved monarch.

After joining nearly seven miles to Southwark Park, he finally arrived at Westminster Hall later that night to say his final farewell to Her Majesty.

Ravi Thirunavukkarasu with his bracelet which he received as he stood in line to see the queen lying in state. Photo: Mark Bullimore Photography 2022.

“The queue was huge and it was a long way to go,” said the 42-year-old, who lives above his shop in Skelton Road.

“I made some friends while I waited – a Spaniard and a Belgian, and we were saving each other’s place as we were going to get each other a coffee or a McDonald’s.”

Mr Thirunavukkarasu, who moved to England from Sri Lanka in 2004, also made sure to keep his friends updated on his progress.

“I told my friend that I was in the queue and sending him pictures, and he said he was very proud of me.”

At 9.57pm he finally arrived at Westminster Hall and described the flood of emotion upon seeing the Queen’s coffin in state.

“I saw the coffin and I had no words,” Mr Thirunavukkarasu said.

“Everyone was very calm and I got very emotional and started crying.

“I adore the Queen – I have been to Sandringham twice and I love this country and all the good she has done for it.

“It was all worth it in the end.”

It was a moment shared with his wife, Saya, 43, his children Sacchidn, 12, and Acchira, nine, who were watching the live stream of state recumbents in Diss.

“My daughter would have loved to come, but they didn’t know how long the queue would be – so they were watching on TV,” he said.

“My daughter managed to see me and sent me a picture.”

Almost two weeks later, Mr. Thirunavukkarasu still keeps his wristband given to everyone in the queue, which has become a source of great pride for his staff and customers.

“I’m never going to lose it,” he said. “I think I’m going to have it framed – I now have a memory for life and something for my children.

“The staff are so proud of me and also of my customers, who think it’s great that I went there.”


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