Today is the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, following several days of mourning across the U.K. and the world. It’s inspired wall-to-wall coverage on practically every channel (not Channel 5 though, which, while the four other main terrestrial networks are showing the funeral or royal-related stuff, is screening The Emoji Movie as I type.) The Queen’s body lay in state for a few days, and the public was welcome to enter Westminster and pay their respects. This led to one of our nation’s finest traditions: queuing.
#TheQueue was given extensive news coverage, in large part because it’s tough to fill out over a week of 24-hour reporting on the same subject. At one point, the queue, nicknamed the Elizabeth line, had a maximum total length of 10 miles. People were waiting for 12, 16, or even 24 hours to see a glimpse of the Queen’s casket. Things, of course, got weird. Celebrities queued, including David Beckham. A man exposed himself to two women in the queue before jumping into the River Thames. People brought their kids, their pets, and their elderly relatives who probably didn’t have the physical strength to stand for 16 hours. The queue was celebrated as the ultimate symbol of the nation’s love for the Queen, a moment of communal bonding and mourning that demonstrated our ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ ethos to the world. I obviously have some feelings on this but for now, we turn to a possible scandal that gripped the nation and broke the ultimate British taboo: queue jumping.
Twitter was in a furious flurry when a rumor began to swirl that Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield, the hosts of This Morning (imagine Good Morning America but way more vapid), had jumped the hours-long queue to get mourning privileges.
While elderly and disabled people queued for 12 hours, Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield jumped the queue. Disgraceful. #ThisMorning #queuejumping #QueueWatch #HollyWilloughby #PhilipScofield pic.twitter.com/XEPoGSgjf3— Fire Man Dan ðŸš’ (@FireManDanDJ) September 17, 2022
Some were given queue-jumping privileges, including members of parliament and foreign dignitaries, mostly because I’m not sure you could get Joe Biden or the King of Norway to hang out in a crowd for that long. But the notion of these celebrities getting in ahead of everyone else proved to be too scandalous for some. Social media erupted. How dare these people get preferential treatment just because of who they are while we all wait to see an unelected monarch’s coffin! The jokes wrote themselves.
I have it on good authority that Phil & Holly are already at the wake and have eaten all the food #QueenElizabethII— ð™‰ð˜¼ð™ð™ƒð˜¼ð™‰ (@Nath_2389) September 19, 2022
No one:— Shirley Carter’s Grieving Pussy (@shirlpuzz) September 19, 2022
ITV when they’re asked why Phil and Holly jumped the queue for the Queen’s coffin: pic.twitter.com/jlgvmHkdBY
I'm glad Phil and Holly jumped the queue.. Imagine how much more insufferable they'd be now had they actually queued and filmed it….— Chris Seavor ðŸ‘€ (@conkerhimself) September 19, 2022
You know what is quite amusing?— Ronke (The Professor) Lawal (@ronkelawal) September 17, 2022
Holly and Phil being cancelled for queue jumping.
Their core audience is FUMING.
This country is such a carry on film.
Phillip Schofield arriving to see the Queen lying-in-state pic.twitter.com/78KXmNpFXC— Pip (@pipmadeley) September 17, 2022
This Morning was forced to issue an explanation, which they did through the preferred journalistic medium of Instagram Stories.
This Morning have issued this statement in regards to Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby. pic.twitter.com/Fo3Eqcjx3a— Scott Bryan (@scottygb) September 18, 2022
You can see in the first image that Willoughby and Schofield are wearing purple lanyards, so yeah, they’re there as press. But the idea of any of them being considered journalists is almost as funny to me as the queue-jumping allegations. They are to journalism what I am to being the Queen of Moldova.
This ‘scandal’ was in part fueled by a growing backlash against the pair, who were considered very popular and inoffensive for a long time. Earlier this month, the show’s regular viewer call-in game, Spin to Win, included a chance for one lucky person to win the chance to have their heating bills paid. It was pretty ghoulish. We’re in the midst of a shocking cost-of-living crisis, with many of us preparing to have our energy bills treble or even quadruple, so seeing our struggles turned into a moment from The Hunger Games with two millionaires laughing along did not go down well.
Oh, and then there was this.
He won’t answer questions or has time to be interviewed by Andrew Neil or have his policies scrutinised but is quite content to go on’This Morning’ for some bants with Phil and Holly before asking for a selfie !— Gavin Mitchell ðŸ‡ºðŸ‡¦ (@GavsterNo1) December 5, 2019
Please make it stop !!
TORIES OUT !!!! pic.twitter.com/ABhwXnyzAV
Got to admit, I didn’t expect the Ellen-esque downfall of Britain’s morning TV darlings to be a side-effect of the Queen’s death, but such is the mystery of life. If none of this makes any sense to you, welcome to my world. Bloody jetlag.