• Tue. May 21st, 2024

I joined the crowd at Buckingham Palace on the day of the Queen’s funeral: Here’s what happened

Byoxfordnewspaper

Sep 20, 2022

ON one of the most historic days we will ever see, I joined the crowd at Buckingham Palace, where thousands of people waited in silence to catch a glimpse of the Queen’s coffin on its last journey.

The procession was expected to start at 12:15pm, but when I got to Green Park at around 7am, hundreds of people were already making their way towards the Royal residence – some of them had been waiting by the sides of The Mall for hours and even camped there overnight.

Broadcasters from around the world, as well as newspaper journalists and photographers, set up their equipment at the edge of Queen Victoria’s Memorial Gardens, just opposite the Palace.

READ MORE: Queen's funeral recap: Nation says farewell to Queen Elizabeth II

As we waited for the funeral to start, just a few miles away at Westminster Abbey, more than one person standing next to me commented on how silent and respectful the crowd was: people who had travelled from all over the country, and beyond, were now waiting in silence, taking in the atmosphere of such a sad and historic occasion.

Those who were waiting outside the Palace were able to listen to the funeral as it happened thanks to a radio broadcast and as the service came to an end people clapped, and then there was silence again, as we waited for the procession to start.

As the funeral procession finally reached us at about 12:45pm, dozens of members of staff – some dressed in black and others wearing their uniforms – also gathered outside the Palace to bid farewell to the Queen they served.

READ MORE: Queen Elizabeth II's funeral: My experience witnessing a moment in history

Seeing them lined up outside the gates to pay their respects as the procession went past was particularly moving – some stood with their hands clasped in front of them, others bowed and curtsied.

Oxford Mail:

King Charles III and his siblings, followed by the monarch’s three grandsons, Peter Phillips, the Duke of Sussex and the Prince of Wales, walked behind the coffin, while the royal women and children travelled behind in state limousines.

But people waiting at Buckingham Palace were mostly touched by seeing George, who briefly waved from the car window and then looked straight ahead again.

He and his sister Charlotte had joined the procession behind the coffin when it was carried through the Abbey, and Kate was also seen putting a comforting hand on his knee towards the end of service.

As the procession continued towards Wellington Arch, people started to disperse, but many of them had become friends, just by standing or camping next to each other for hours.

On the train back home, I talked to a woman who had travelled on the day from Somerset just for a chance to say goodbye to the Queen. She told me: “I never thought she could die, I thought she would just live forever.” And I think that perfectly sums up how most people have been feeling for the past ten days.

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This story was written by Anna Colivicchi, she joined the team this year and covers health stories for the Oxfordshire papers.

Get in touch with her by emailing: Anna.colivicchi@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @AnnaColivicchi