Sunday 18 September 2022

Love and Floral Tributes for the Queen at Green Park

I visited Green Park yesterday to see the floral tributes for the queen. The route there wound around the outer walls of Buckingham Palace and through the streets of London, past the palace gates and into the park. I joined the three-hour queue from near Hyde Park Corner. As a friend pointed out to me, it was a kind of secular pilgrimage. It felt moving and meaningful - and a very English way to show respects to the woman who ruled this country for longer than the span of my life so far. 

A couple of my friends had queued at the Palace of Westminster, but I'm not so interested in Church of England ceremony or the doings of dignitaries such as politicians who got fast-tracked to see the coffin there. The floral tributes seemed far more a response by ordinary people. As well as flowers there were cards, works of art and other things created by those of all ages and from all walks of life.  

While I was there the sky was blue and the day was warm. Dappled sunlight filtered through the leaves of the London plane trees under which the flowers had been laid. They were beautiful in their colour and variety, and their scent filled the air. Green Park had been transformed into a magical garden dedicated to mourning, but also full of love. There was a sense of shared purpose and community spirit. 

Despite having been on my feet for several hours before arriving at Green Park, I didn't really want to leave or return to the normal world full of the arguments and antagonism that seem to be everywhere in social discourse these days. But, of course, I had to go and make room for others still in the queue to reach the garden and place their offerings.

Royal Parks are officially inviting people to leave floral tributes at Green Park and also Hyde Park. Flowers will eventually be composted and paper items recycled. Although some lovely Teddy bears, toys and other items have been left, these are not encouraged as they aren't so easy to recycle. I do hope the toys - like the one in the photo at the top - get donated to charities for children. You can find out more here:

The pictures on this post are some of those I took at Green Park and in the queue yesterday.

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