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People outside Buckingham Palace
Photograph: Jess Hand

How people in London are reacting to the Queen’s death

Tourists, Londoners and passers-by were all found at Buckingham Palace honouring the late Queen Elizabeth II. We asked them why they showed up

Written by
Ellie Muir

On September 8, 2022, Queen Elizabeth II died, triggering a 12-day period of mourning across the country. Britain's longest-reigning monarch, the Queen was the second longest-reigning sovereign in history (behind Louis XIV), sitting on the throne for 70 years and reigning until her death aged 96.

This morning, as thousands of well-wishers flocked to royal spots across the capital in the pouring rain to honour the sovereign (or to simply have a gander at the events as they unfolded), Time Out went down to Buckingham Palace to ask people how they were taking the news and find out why they showed up.

Marina Lumley (middle) with Sarah Thurston and Sacher Barker
Photograph: Jess HandMarina Lumley (middle) with Sarah Thurston and Sacher Barker

Marina Lumley, 51, coach

‘I think it’s impossible not to come here today. The Queen has been around all of our lives and she’s stayed so strong when so many things have gone wrong around us.’

‘The Queen is London and is the whole country. Even if you’re not a royalist, it’s impossible not to feel her contribution and what she stood for. We’re so much better with her than without.  Hopefully, Charles can do a great job and follow in her footsteps.’

Man at Buckingham Palace
Photograph: Jess Hand

Marcus Amoroso, 18, student

‘I'm here because my class was forced to come here by our teacher. We’re on a school trip in London. We were meant to go to Brick Lane today but then the Queen literally died. That was crazy.’

JaVona stands in front of Buckingham Palace
Photograph: Jess Hand

JaVona Pearsall, 36, nurse

‘We found out about the Queen’s death on our way over from the US and we were already planning to come to Buckingham Palace today. This is my first time back in London in 12 years and it’s crazy to be back during this time. I didn’t expect so many people to be here today.’

‘Queen Elizabeth has been around my whole life. When you think of England, you think of her. It’s a historic moment, I’m glad I’m here, but the circumstances are unfortunate.

Andrita infront of Buckingham Palace
Photograph: Jess Hand

Andrita Orbandi, 28, postgraduate student

‘We just heard last night that the Queen has passed away.

‘The Queen witnessed a lot of historical events and change in her time. So as a foreigner, I wanted to know how the people of United Kingdom respond to her death, that's why I'm here today.’

Chris and his bike at Buckingham Palace
Photograph: Jess Hand

Chris, 61

‘I'm here because it's a historic day, I guess. Everybody is here, it's such an incredibly diverse crowd. The fashionistas are here in all their gear, the gays, the Muslims, the young and old, the locals and the tourists. It’s a remarkable tribute to the Queen’s impact.’

Fran Hall (right) with volunteers for Covid-19 memorial wall
Photograph: Jess HandFran Hall (right) with volunteers for Covid-19 memorial wall

Fran Hall, 61, volunteer for Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK 

‘We're in London normally on a Friday anyway to paint hearts on the [Covid-19 memorial] wall. We came because it's such a significant event to lose the monarch who's been reigning in this country for 70 years. We thought it was appropriate to come, pay our respects and lay some flowers and be part of the experience of public mourning.’

‘The Queen meant continuity and stability. We won't see anyone like her again.’

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