-A A +A
Select color visibility that suits you Basic theme Dark theme Darker theme Text only

Lying-in-State not accessible to Disabled people – DR UK

14 September 2022

Speaking about the access arrangements for Disabled people for Her Majesty the Queen’s Lying-in-State, Disability Rights UK CEO Kamran Mallick said: “Given the decades that have gone into planning the events around the death of Her Majesty the Queen, it is disappointing that access to these events for Disabled people is such a mixed bag.

“We welcome the potential of shorter waiting time slots and a shorter distance to queue for Disabled people, but there is still a breathtaking lack of awareness around the needs of Disabled people.

“The Government has said in a press release that “people wishing to attend the Lying-in-State, especially those with pre-existing medical conditions, are encouraged to check the guidance, plan accordingly and be prepared for significant wait times, including possibly overnight.” That is not a reasonable adjustment – as required by the Equality Act.

“The threat of confiscation of food, drink and portable shelter such as unfoldable umbrellas is in breach of the Equality Act. Many Disabled people use these to double up as walking sticks. Disabled people often need food and water on the go, or to take with medication.

“The ‘accessible’ bag drop and nearest first aid point are at least twenty minutes away on the other side of the river from the accessibility kiosk at Tate Britain and the Palace of Westminster, and there are no changing places in the accessible queue – only within the Palace itself.

“We understand that the Government fears people faking disability to jump the queue, but to focus on this rather than equity of access for Disabled people is to create an inexcusable barrier to paying respects to the Queen for the fifth of the population which is Disabled.

“How ironic that our Monarch should sign the Equality Act into law over a decade ago, and end her life herself Disabled, and yet still the Government cannot enact the laws around equity of accessibility which she brought into being.”

The access information is at gov.uk

Edit 16/09/22:

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has now confirmed to DR UK that a Changing Places will be available at the Tate Britain site, and food and drink will be available at first aid stations within the Palace grounds.

A first aid point has also been set up at Tate Britain. There is a large waiting space at the wristband allocation point at Tate Britain, plus an on site bag drop.

Disabled visitors still have to wait as long as the main queue (on Friday morning, stewards were saying 11 hours) but can wait away from the queue. This means that late afternoon and evening visitors may be waiting without proper rest places, and may find travelling difficult as train and tube routes close down overnight, and buses run as less frequent night buses.

DR UK sent a representative to test the accessibility queue on Thursday evening. The wristband queue at this time (subject to change) was around half an hour. A wristband was issued at 8pm for 5-6am Friday morning. Entrance to the Palace for the morning slot was swift, but necessitated a nine hour overnight wait in the capital.