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Britain holds moment of silence for Queen Elizabeth II ahead of funeral

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Britain will observe a moment of silence for Queen Elizabeth II on Sunday as the nation prepares for the late monarch's funeral on Monday. Photo by Jessica Taylor/UK Parliament/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/fa7cc64bc127561f233ed6fc63ae2b46/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Britain will observe a moment of silence for Queen Elizabeth II on Sunday as the nation prepares for the late monarch's funeral on Monday. Photo by Jessica Taylor/UK Parliament/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 18 (UPI) -- Britain held a moment of silence for Queen Elizabeth II on Sunday as droves continued to line up to view her coffin and world leaders arrived for her funeral.

The bell on Elizabeth Tower was struck at 3 p.m. EST to mark the beginning of a one-minute "national moment of reflection" as observers were encouraged to take a moment of silence in honor of the queen.

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Camilla, the queen consort, praised Elizabeth for establishing herself in the "difficult position" of being a "solitary woman" among mostly male leaders throughout the world in a video tribute that aired on the BBC prior to the moment of silence

"There weren't women prime ministers or presidents," Camilla said. "She was the only one so I think she carved her own role."

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The British Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport closed the line to view the queen's coffin at 5:41 p.m.

The wait time spanned 10 hours earlier in the day as the department warned potential visitors not to travel to join the line.

"To avoid disappointment please do not set off to join the queue," the department said.

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St. John Ambulance said that more than 98 people waiting in the line to see the queen needed medical attention overnight, with nine needing to be hospitalized.

World leaders including U.S. President Joe Biden Canadian and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also arrived in London for the queen's funeral on Monday.

Biden, who paid respects alongside first lady Jill Biden, made the sign of the cross in front of the queen's coffin before leaving the hall, CNN reported.

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"We've had an opportunity to meet with an awful lot of consequential people. But I can say that the ones who stand out in your mind are those whose relationship and interaction with you are consistent with their reputation," the president said.

The Bidens as well as Trudeau and his wife, Sofie, signed an official book of condolences before meeting with King Charles III at Buckingham Palace on Sunday.

"I offered my condolences to him and members of the Royal Family, as they mourn the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II -- my thoughts, and the thoughts of many Canadians, continue to be with them," Trudeau wrote on Twitter.

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The world leaders will join British heads of state as they travel to Westminster Abbey on Monday morning for the funeral.

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