Reporter Notebook: Day Three with a wounded British Army vet and strolling along London Bridge

Thousands have been lining up for hours to walk inside Westminster Hall for a brief look at the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II.
Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 2:03 PM EDT
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LONDON, UK (WBTV) - My third day of covering the events related to the death of Queen Elizabeth II was truly fascinating, thanks to a war-wounded British Army veteran who came to see the Queen lying in state.

Thousands have been lining up for hours to walk inside Westminster Hall for a brief look at the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II. Among those most determined to get in are veterans of the British Armed Forces. They have to show their allegiance to the Sovereign before they can even serve.

British Army veteran Nick Wilson told me he was grateful the opportunity to see the Queen’s coffin on the raised catafalque today, he says it’s a fulfillment of the promise he made 23 years ago.

“I took an allegiance to serve Queen and Country back in 1999 and following that did multiple deployments Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghan, and yeah, the Oath of Allegiance to any British veteran or service personnel is everything,” Wilson said.

It’s common to any member of British Armed Forces, from veterans, to those serving today, and for Nick Wilson, it was binding. Wilson was at Westminster Hall today with 1000′s of others, determined to pass by the coffin of his Queen.

So many, veterans and civilians alike, wanted to come that most streets in central London are shut down, and you can walk across London Bridge to hear a man playing bagpipes.

Right outside Westminster Palace you see people leaving after having the briefest audience with the Queen. Some are sad, others pleased, all seem satisfied.

“It was awesome outside. It was like you’re outside the real world and you’re in a different world. Everything is so quiet, everybody was so respectful, the soldiers were so impressive, you couldn’t forget that she was the Queen, you couldn’t forget that she was our Queen,” that woman told me.

And for Nick Wilson and millions more who wore the uniform in allegiance to the Queen and her realm, it’s a chance to fulfill their pledge.

“…and so being able to stand up, just about, and bang out a salute to her one more time, someone that I dedicated all of my life to,” Wilson said.

On the personal side, I really enjoy the full English breakfast buffet at the Hilton Paddington! Great food, very filling, and the company pays for it! I did get five glorious hours of sleep last night, so that’s a start.

All of the broadcasters associated with CBS are in a wing of the Methodist Central Hall building right across from Westminster Abbey. It’s loud, crowded, and thankfully, supplied with everything that I need.

Tomorrow is more lying in state, so I’ll have to look around for a new story or two. I have to tell you that despite the long hours and occasional stressful moments, it’s a true honor and privilege to be here in England covering this story.

Related: Reporter Notebook: Day Two featured a procession for the ages and a peaceful night