RAF veteran from Hampshire says 'goodbye to his boss' in emotional tribute

RAF veteran Paul Shelton-Smith felt a strong urge to say 'goodbye to his former boss' Credit: ITV News Meridian

An RAF veteran from Hampshire has made an emotional tribute to his former boss, the Queen.

Paul Shelton-Smith from Eastleigh joined thousands of mourners to line up through Central London to pass by the Queen's coffin, Britain's longest-serving monarch.

Paul said: "I'd felt an emptiness and I was at work thinking can I spare the time - I had an urge to come.

"I thought I'd never have the chance to do this again. I wanted to recognise the Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen. For 70 years they've been figureheads of my life, and my parent's lives. It was an opportunity to say goodbye to two very important people.

"Having been outside and having a chat with people in the queue. I felt a huge feeling of respect when going in to see the Queen lying in state."

The bearer party carries the coffin into Westminster Hall Credit: Christopher Furlong/PA

On Tuesday, the late monarch’s coffin was transported to the London landmark by plane and hearse after spending the night in St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh.

After landing at RAF Northolt the convoy, including the hearse, was watched by thousands who defied the rain to see the long-serving Queen make her last journey to the palace.

Paul said: "It was a somber mood inside, but you were able to take your time to pay your respects.

"The mood was just right and it was a great opportunity to see our Queen being respected by so many people and a time to say goodbye.

"She was my boss. I've been out of the Royal Air Force for many years now, but there's still a huge community of us and the mood from everybody was that she was in charge - we all swore an oath to serve the Queen and her children and commanders, forever. And that sticks.

"It was a pleasure to say goodbye to my boss."

Members of the public may have to wait in line for up to 30 hours to see the Queen’s lying in state.

Westminster Hall is open 24 hours a day until it closes at 6.30am on Monday, 19 September the day of the Queen's funeral.