Our plan for today was to catch the tube into Piccadilly and then walk to Trafalgar Square, through Admiralty Arch and up the Mall to Buckingham Palace and maybe see the floral tributes to the Queen on our way to the Victoria and Albert Museum in Kensington.
We knew from yesterday on our way to the cricket that they had closed Green Park tube station due to the volume of people trying to get to Buckingham Palace. Hence, we got off at Piccadilly Station and thought it would be nice for us to walk down the Mall from Admiralty Arch. A big surprise on our arrival at Piccadilly was that the large digital marketing board had gone back to displaying adverts. We were hoping it still showed the picture of the Queen on it.
Next surprise was that you could not access the area directly around the fountain or the lions around Nelson’s Column at Trafalgar Square. It was cordoned off and they were erecting stuff for the funeral on the 19th September. Unfortunatley, we will not be in the UK from the 13th to the 25th September as we will be in Croatia. We return to the UK for three days before flying back to Canada on the 29th September. If we had of been here, we definitely would have made an effort to watch the procession.
We made our way around the corner from Trafalgar Square to Admiralty Arch where we walked through the central arch which normally has the gates closed. Admiralty Arch plays an important role on ceremonial occasions. Processions at royal weddings, funerals, coronations and other public processions such as the 2012 processions at the end of the Olympic and Paralympic Games all passed under its arches. The central archway is reserved for use by royalty but today we went through it – just lucky.
They had the Mall closed to pedestrians as they were getting the area prepared for the funeral including doing some much hurried road works. If you look closely, you can see a black sash hanging down the pole behind the flag as well as one right underneath the crown on the top of the flag post.
Due to all the work going on, the crowds were being funnelled down either side of the Mall with only one crossing to get from the left side to the right side and vice versa. We got trapped in a huge crush of people on the left side of the Mall and abandoned any plans to go to the Museum.
It took quite a time and a lot of walking to back track our steps and get to the other side of the road and struggle like so many other people to get away from the area. We ended up walking through Pall Mall, Mayfair and eventually to Oxford Street where we got onto a tube back to Southgate.
We couldn’t get near Green Park to see the floral tributes as it was a two hour queue just to get in. We saw a lot of people queing with their flowers in hand. A lot of people abandoned the idea of going to Green Park and random places were used to lay down their floral tributes.
This area was down near St James Park where we were trapped with a crowd of people who were not able to move anywhere. It did give us a very unnerving feeling as it was hard to know how the crowd was going to react. In Green Park, they are removing all the packaging around the flowers and laying them on the grass area at the same time as having removed all the flowers from around the Palace. We are so pleased that we placed our small floral arrangement when we did on Friday afternoon.
People are leaving Paddington Bears toys, corgi toys, marmalade sandwiches, lit candles along with cards of condolences and the flowers.
We finally made our way home to flop down exhausted. That is the second time we have tried to get to the V&A museum. Maybe we will try to again when we return from our trip to Croatia.
13th Sept 2022 – as many of you have realized, we post a couple of days late to give us a bit of breathing room. As we sit here at Heathrow Airport waiting to board our plane to Croatia, we just wanted to let everyone know that we have absolutely no idea what internet coverage we will have whilst away. We will keep writing the posts but they may be posted very sporadically.