London Park

At a London Green Park, Flowers, cuddly animals, and letters to the queen abound.

There are so many people and so many flowers in London Green Park honouring Queen Elizabeth that it’s difficult to see the grass.

Officials in Britain have asked the public to leave floral condolences in one of two royal parks, with Green Park near Buckingham Palace is the most popular. Workers in the park have also begun transporting tributes placed in other parts of the city to their ultimate resting place.

A London Green Park blooms with flowers, stuffed animals and handwritten notes to the queen

Visitors, both mourners and otherwise, have been in good numbers. All across London Green Park, people have neatly arranged bouquets of flowers, stuffed Paddington Bears, drawings of corgis, handwritten notes, painted pebbles, flags, posters, pictures, and other gifts of appreciation on the ground to show their gratitude. On Saturday, London Green Park was flooded by a massive influx of visitors, leading to a traffic gridlock so bad that some drivers assumed London Green Park had been closed.

London Park blooms with flowers

However, the mood within the memorial area was one of silent contemplation and reverence. A lot of families brought their kids and grandkids to lay flowers and look around at all the little things: the jar of marmalade hidden beneath a teddy bear, the kid’s doodles on white paper against the sea of green stems.

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As they strolled around London Green Park, visitors pointed out their favourite flowers and cards and snapped photographs of themselves and their loved ones in the setting. Many people have been by many times over the last week, and some have even taken the train in from neighbouring states to view the memorials, like Shaun and Tracey Dunmall.

Tracey said, “[We’re] here to view the flowers.” “Isn’t it the only thing the people can do for her?”

For the hundreds of mourners who never met the queen, the spectacle was painful on “a human level,” according to a lady called Fabi who came to London Green Park with her 21-year-old daughter.

I guess it reminds you of the individuals you’ve lost, and it’s great to see that people come out and pay their respects, she added.

It took many in the throng some time to find an appropriate resting place for their bouquets.

For Ellie Bunn, 26, this meant locating a spot with new blooms and some exposure to the sun. She had come to visit the memorials for the first time with her mother and aunts, and she was remembering how, on her way here, she had seen King Charles‘ motorcade go by, on its way to Buckingham Palace. She said that she was so star-struck that she forgot to get out her phone in time to take a photo.

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Alice, age 4, practised her calligraphy on the train journey there, so her parents were glad to let her set down the flowers she had brought and the card she had signed.

They, like everyone else NPR spoke to at the park, were deeply affected by the children’s letters.

London Green Park

British Army Sergeant Major Graham Monks cut an imposing figure in his fatigues and while toting a pace stick, a long wooden cane. He was one of the hundreds of servicemen in London for the burial and was stopping by to pay his respects after a 14-hour shift. After just five minutes, he had already lost count of the number of people who had approached him to take pictures with them. He went on to say that a royal burial and the appearance of uniformed troops in public are both very unusual occurrences in Britain.

The monks said it was “gut-wrenching” to read the letters the youngsters had sent to the queen, especially the one that pleaded with her to greet the child’s deceased grandmother.

People may “write a nice big essay” or “narrative,” but “really, it’s the tiny ones from the kids that really touch home and give you the chills and the knot in your throat,” he remarked.