Ainsley Blackburn and Gemma Morton, both 36, travelled 300 miles to the capital to pay their respects
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Two mothers travelled 300 miles from Northumberland to London to see the Queen lying-in-state after making a promise to each other as teenagers.
Royalists Ainsley Blackburn, 36, and Gemma Morton, 36, decided when they were around 14 that they would make the trip to the capital to say goodbye to Queen Elizabeth II when she passed away. The pair, who went to Ashington High School in Ashington together, joined the lengthy queue just before 11am on Thursday morning.
Gemma, who lives in Stakeford, had brought with her two pictures which her children Lucas, eight, and Jake, five, had drawn for the UK longest-serving monarch. One picture contained a drawing of the Queen and the other a drawing of Paddington. She planned to lay them alongside the floral tributes which have already been left in Green Park.
Read more: 'Emotional and extremely lucky' – How it felt to watch mourners pass the Queen's coffin as she lies in state
Ainsley and Gemma queued alongside thousands of other people along the bank of the River Thames on Thursday afternoon. Ainsley, who lives in Ashington, said they had both recently lost their grandmothers, which added to the emotion they felt when the Queen died at Balmoral in Scotland a week ago.
Ainsley, who is mam to four-year-old Layla, said: "We love the Queen and we've always had a pact that we would come down if this happened. We've said we would so it from the age of 14.
"We don't know her personally but we have both lost our grandmas in the last two years. She was the grandma of the nation! We want to come down and pay our respects.
"She gave her entire life to us and she makes you proud to be British. She was working until she was 96 and two days before she died. She was just amazing. We wanted to be here to feel the atmosphere."
Gemma, who works as a police officer for Northumbria Police, said: "No matter what our situation we were coming to London! My grandma died four months ago and it brings back all the emotion.
"I just like everything the Queen stands for. She was thrown into it, it wasn't meant to be her, but she took it on and made it her life duty. I love the fact we have a Royal Family.
"She's the only stability we had in our country at the moment. She was our stability no matter what happened."
Ainsley, who works as a GP receptionist, said they have always been fans of the Royal Family, particularly Queen Elizabeth. She said: "The Queen was always number one! We had a Jubilee party in the summer in the garden."
Gemma added: "We would have come for Prince Philip's funeral but because of the covid restrictions we couldn't. It made it even more important for us to come down now."
The Queen died on Thursday, September 8 at the age of 96, after more than 70 years on the throne. Her Majesty was brought from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster during a procession through central London on Wednesday afternoon. She will lie in state at Westminster Hall until her funeral of Monday.
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