On the 8th of September 2022 Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II, the longest reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, died in Balmoral, Scotland. Let me show you London during the days of the national mourning and on the day of state funeral as well as other locations in the UK related to this last journey of the Queen.
From the Balmoral the Queen’s coffin was transported to St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, the High Kirk of Scotland, that was founded by King David I in 1124. Now it’s the home of the magnificent Thistle Chapel, the chapel of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle founded in 1687.
Then on the 13th the Queen Elizabeth II was transported to London. The main location for the visitors who wanted to pay their respects of course were the Buckingham Palace where the coffin arrived first and then the Westminster Abbey where the Queen lay-in-state for four days draped in the royal standard. Anyone who wanted to say farewell to her could do that after waiting for one’s turn in The Queue (everyone knows love of Brits to queue, and The Queue became the epitome of that: at some point it was 8km long, people stay there up to 14 hours, and even the entry to the queue was restricted for 6 hours because there were too many people).
London was transformed during the days of national mourning. The centre of the city became a place of pilgrimage. Streets around the Palace and the Abbey were closed for traffic, the flags lowered, and albeit crowded, the area looked quiet and dignified. Many businesses like shops, restaurants, hotels etc put the portraits of the Queen, and the lights of the London eye were deemed.
Those who brought the flower tributes could leave them in the Royal Parks (Green Park, St James park, Hyde park) along with sweet notes of thank you, drawings and toys. It is worth noting that the one way system was created around the Buckingham palace for those who wanted to pay their respects, and to avoid the recycling problems, the plastic was cut from the flowers by volunteers (more flower tributes below). I’ve never seen so many flowers in my life!
State funeral of Queen Elizabeth II
The 19th of September was declared a bank holiday so everyone who wanted could say farewell to the Queen Elizabeth II. Cafes, shops, even small parks – everything was close and was emptier than on Christmas day (and obviously sadder) and the centre was absolutely packed.
The state funeral took place on the 19th of September after a service in Westminster Abbey while the imperial state crown, the sovereign’s orb and sceptre were put on the coffin. The funeral was screened live in many locations (for instance, in Hyde park) because the Horse Guards Parade Road and the Mall couldn’t accommodate all the people who wanted to watch the procession.
After a short drive around central London the royal state hearse transported the coffin to Wellington Arch and then the funeral procession moved to Windsor Castle (her pony and corgis were waiting for her too) via the Long Walk where the Queen Elizabeth II was buried in St George’s Chapel alongside her husband of 73 years Prince Philip in a private ceremony.
More photos from the London streets those days if you’d like to read notes to the Queen: