London the day after the Queen died
As soon as the news broke that the Queen was ill, I was glued to the news on the television. Working with a PR company, it was actually very interesting to see how things unfolded from a completely different perspective. When the news broke that the Queen had died, I, like much of the country felt a complete mix of emotions. A pang of sadness for someone that been a staple throughout my life, but also confusion about what I should be feeling, after all, the Crown is responsible for all kinds of awful things and it’s an institution stained with the blood of many thousands of people.
Despite my muddled feelings, there is no doubt that the demise of the Queen is an important historical event. As it happened, the PR team I work with had organised a social in London, long before these events unfolded.
We all met up, the day after the Queen’s passing, and went about our day as planned. At the end of the day we all stood on the banks of the Thames overlooking Tower Bridge, illuminated in purple, and quietly watched the world go by. We decided that being in London, it would be a good opportunity to head to Buckingham Palace the following morning and experience a little part of history.
We hopped in a taxi and got as far as Greek Park before the roads were closed and we needed to get out. As we walked, it was impossible not to take in the atmosphere – it was unlike anything I had ever experienced in my life before. The streets were lined with more people than I had ever seen in my life, and there were people climbing up arches and gates to get a better view, yet an eerie silence seemed to have descended upon the whole city.
Suddenly the silence was broken with cries of ‘God save the King!’ which somehow felt utterly bizarre. This must have been as Charles left his Accession Ceremony, and was closely followed by a chorus of people singing God Save The King. Surreal doesn’t even begin to cover it!
We made our way through the throngs of people in Green Park towards the Palace, which was absolutely chock-a-block. While wading through the crowds, a procession of beefeaters and a marching band went by, and I managed to get fairly close to the main gates where I could see the hundreds of flowers that had been left. A memory that will stay with me, is that of a little girl called Emma sitting on her dad’s shoulders. She carefully posted a bunch of flowers through the rails of an archway, and once she had finished, someone else asked her if she would like to put some more flowers through the rails. I watched for a little while as Emma carefully placed lots of flowers through the arch – the atmosphere at this point was not at all what I expected. People seemed reflective rather than sad or sombre, and it certainly didn’t feel sad.
Shortly after this, I had to dash back to Charing Cross to catch my train home, but I’m happy to have been able to experience just a little bit of the vibe on such a monumental day in British history.