Another 'poignant' rainbow appears over a royal landmark as the Lying in State ends

A rainbow over Westminster on Sunday evening

Thousands of the Queen's mourners were greeted with another “poignant” rainbow on Sunday evening as her Lying in State came to a close.

The spectacle appeared for three minutes over Westminster Hall at 6:54pm, after rainbows appeared above Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle on Thursday 8 September, as the monarch’s death was announced.

Waiting crowds who were told the queue to say goodbye to the Queen had closed on Sunday were greeted by a rainbow over Westminster Abbey, where hours later the Queen will be laid to her final rest.

Robert Green, 48, a real estate business owner from London, was visiting Westminster with his family and witnessed the rainbow, which he said lasted three minutes.

“The atmosphere was incredible,” Mr Green said.

“I wanted to experience the event with my family and to see the amazing numbers of people, from all over the world, gathering around Westminster and still queuing to see the Queen lying in state.

“The light had been building up gradually over the afternoon and it was even more spectacular with the dark clouds, creating wonderful contrast with the orange and red hues of the sunset.

“None of us expected the rainbow though so we were pleasantly shocked to see it, especially as it arced perfectly over Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster.

“It seemed to end right in the centre of Westminster Hall roof – very poignant and quite moving really.”

How do rainbows form?

Rainbows are caused by the reflection, refraction and dispersion of light in water droplets that result in the spectrum of light that you see in the sky.

When light passes through raindrops, the light bends, or refracts, as it enters the droplet, and then reflects off the inside of the raindrop. This happens because the water is more dense than the air that surrounds it.

As it exits the droplet, the light separates into wavelengths. The best time to catch a rainbow is when it’s sunny and raining. 

A rainbow is seen, as members of the public gather outside Buckingham Palace Credit: Victoria Jones/PA

Those queuing faced hours in the line on Sunday, with waiting times reaching a peak of 14 hours at 10am.

Members of the public, celebrities and foreign dignitaries were all seen queuing – including David Beckham, who spent more than 12 hours waiting.

Mourners were visually upset as they nodded a final goodbye to Britain’s longest-reigning monarch.

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