Flowers. Candles. Photos. These are just some of the commemorative tokens that have been gently placed in front of royal residences across the United Kingdom in the last 24 hours since news of Queen Elizabeth II's death, aged 96, hit the headlines.
Her Majesty's passing was a moment Great Britain, the Commonwealth and the wider public knew would come, but long feared. For over 70 years, she ruled with dignity, grace and humour, through jubilant celebrations and devastating lows.
It's fitting then that mourners have taken to the streets at Buckingham Palace, the former official residence and office of the Queen, to pay their respects to the longest reigning British monarch. Much like in 1997, when mourners of the late Princess Diana filled Pall Mall and the space in front of the Palace's gates with flora, today the pavements surrounding Buckingham Palace are gradually resembling a colourful garden – each flower representing the hope, love, respect and sorrow of people from across the world.
We spoke to some of the women who had travelled to the palace to pay their respects to Her Majesty, to find out what she has meant to them and her lasting impact. Because, never has there been a more pertinent time when the words of the late Queen have felt more true. As she once said: 'Grief is the price we pay for love.'
It felt quite surreal hearing about the Queen’s death. I'm not particularly a massive royalist, but it’s a strange and emotional time in the UK. Everyone has such respect for the fact that Her Majesty managed to bridge the gap between being a monarch and having a distance from people, while still being a human figure. As a fan of The Crown, the show has taught me more about how difficult the Queen's role has been.
My favourite memories of the Queen will be seeing her laugh. I knew someone who met her once, and they always said that she had the most sparkly blue eyes. When you watched her on TV, you could tell she had a great personality.
I was away when the Jubilee happened earlier this year and was gutted. I would have loved to have been here in London. I like how the monarchy brings everyone together. Seeing the amount of people here today at Buckingham Palace is comforting.
I was on the train home from work when I heard the Queen had died. There was a lot of news coverage focussed on people wanting to share their opinions as to whether she had already passed away, but all I could think about was how I hoped she’d gone peacefully, surrounded by her family.
It's strange to think that we are only going to have kings in Britain for the rest of our lives. The Queen was an incredible, strong figure for everyone. She built such a strong foundation for female leaders around the world and has been an inspiration for young girls to look up to.
My favourite photo is of her and Prince Harry. He’s in military uniform and she’s standing in front of him, trying to crack a smile out of him. It’s such a sweet family moment.
A group of my friends were chatting on WhatsApp when we heard the news of the Queen’s death last night. We knew something bad was happening, particularly when the news was covering her health and a letter was a passed along to Liz Truss in Parliament yesterday afternoon.
I don’t have one particular memory of the Queen because she’s always been here. She's managed to bring people together in some of the darkest times, even today. Over the course of the two Jubilees that I've lived through, it's been evident just how loved she was and how important she has been for so many people. I attended the Queen's Platinum Jubilee earlier this year and it was fantastic. It brought London together in a way I don't think we've seen since the Olympics in 2012. There was a real sense of jubilation across the country
The Queen has taught me to look after other people and not always think about myself. Supporting each other is the only way to get through life.
The second I saw the notification that the Queen was unwell on Thursday I turned BBC News on. I had the footage playing in the background for five hours. Obviously, I was hoping for the best, but there was a general feeling from the press that something tragic was happening.
The first Jubilee I attended was in 2012. I visited my grandparents, who live in Norfolk, as they were throwing a huge party with bunting. It was a lovely way to commemorate her lifetime of service so far.
The biggest lesson the Queen taught me is the importance of dedication and putting others before yourself. She always managed to turn up events and give her all, while looking so pleased to see every single person.
My family and I were watching the news when we heard of the Queen's death. We'd been hoping for a recovery, but when talk focussed on Prince Charles becoming King, the public had a pretty good idea of what was coming.
I was fortunate enough to meet the Queen when I was 16 - it was one of the best days of my life - at the opening of the Jubilee gallery at Westminster Abbey. The Dean of Westminster and the now King Charles III also attended.
I have admired Her Majesty as a woman, but also as an important figure in history. It's amazing to think that the same person has steered our country from the 1950s until now, and has seen so many changes and overcome constant challenges. The Queen has remained resilient and held her head high.
I was jogging with my running group in London when the Queen died. I overheard someone shout: 'Long live the King.' It felt so weird to hear someone yell that statement out loud. I'll always admire the Queen’s grace and poise. I'm so grateful for the role she played in making my home country (Australia) as strong as it is today.
I heard about the Queen's poor health on Thursday when I received messages from friends in Australia asking what had happened and whether I had any updates. That afternoon I was glued to the BBC News website. I was devastated when I found out she'd passed away. I'm not a massive royalist, but I think everybody loves the Queen. She's like everybody's nan! I recently competed in the Commonwealth Games for fencing and during competitions we regularly say 'God save the Queen', so I've always felt affiliated to her.
What has surprised me is how my husband, who is German, has been so sad about the news of her death. He's only been in the UK for a few years, but seemed really upset and shocked when I told him she'd passed. I don't think anyone really expected her to die, despite receiving recent news of her being ill.
I messaged my boss this morning to ask if I could take an hour off work today to visit Buckingham Palace and pay my respects. She replied: 'Absolutely, go for it. I'm going to come up later myself.' It's lovely to see so many people have come together today. It feels right to be surrounded by so many people.
Her Majesty always seemed like a very honest, dignified and kind woman. There's very few people who could've done her job. could do that. There's never going to be anyone like the Queen.
I heard about the Queen's death while sat on the Tube and immediately turned on BBC's Six O'Clock news when I came through the door. She was such a phenomenal woman. As a woman, it's hard to think that we won’t see another female monarch on the throne again in our lifetime. She was a true icon throughout so many people’s lives.
My fondest memory of the Queen was her at the 2012 Olympics with Daniel Craig, and sitting opposite Paddington Bear during her recent sketch for the Platinum Jubilee. Her humour is my fondest memory. She's taught me a lesson in decorum. She never complained, and got on with the job at hand. She'll teach generations of women to come that anything is possible. To keep going, to prosper.
I was walking to a pub to meet my friends and everyone in the pub went silent when the TV came on to announce the news. A few people started crying. It was very upsetting.
I've attended Ascot Races a lot in recent years, so my fondest memory has been watching her ride along in her carriage on Ladies Day. I'm sad I won't be able to see her anymore and have another female monarch in my lifetime.
We all knew something was going to happen, but it still felt like a massive shock when I heard of her death. She’s been such a powerhouse and figure in the UK. Everybody is mourning today.
She was such a commendable figure. To take on the role as Queen as a young woman was so inspirational. She's an icon for many women across the globe. She's taught us all that you step into any role you want to in life, and that it doesn't matter if others think you won't succeed. She's been the best monarch we’ve ever had. There will never be anyone like her again.
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