The entire United Kingdom and many of the Commonwealth realms are in a state of mourning over the death of Queen Elizabeth II. During my trip to London last week I had the chance to walk through the city in the quiet of the morning and present the following photo essay.
London In Mourning, A Photo Essay
Throughout the country, black signs memorializing the passing of the Queen are present. I first encountered one just minutes after stepping off my aircraft at London Heathrow.
After exiting Westminister Hall and stepping out onto Whitehall, with Big Ben towering overhead, I walked by Westminster Abbey, where the funeral for her majesty is currently being held.
Then I continued up to Trafalgar Square and down the Mall toward Buckingham Palace. At 5:30 am, I had the whole place to myself.
But what struck me most was then walking over to Green Park, where a makeshift memorial for the Queen was set up. Tens of thousands of bouquets were laid, many with handwritten notes and pictures honoring the Queen. It was quite moving to see how much so many British people, and presumably those from around the world, felt about the Queen.
Life will slowly return to normal as the period of mourning ends. I realize many do not hold warm feelings for the Queen, but the historical outpouring of love for this sovereign was on display across the city and quite moving.
I’m at the BA First Lounge in T5 right now. It’s eerily quiet, yet packed. Definitely an interesting time to be in the Big Smoke.
As a native Brit living in NYC, I’m saddened I’m unable to be in my home country to mourn the loss her majesty.
Your picture essay has brought tears to my eyes and I’m very grateful you took the time and expense to go to London and share these images.
Many thanks for your kind words, James.
I believe there’s a pandemic still raging on but I also feel it has improved enough for Matthew to go and report to his worldwide audience. I, myself, used to do lots of business travel, which has ground to a halt. I speculate that travel may be minimally acceptable to me personally by next spring. That might be when a winter surge subsides and also while I retain some BA.5 (omicron) immunity from the bivalent vaccine.
I am surprised that over 99.99% of people in the Queen’s vigil were not wearing masks. In the funeral, I can see that world leaders probably have frequent testing but not in the vigil. In the funeral and service in Windsor, people are singing, exhaling potential virus particles. Terrible. The vast majority are not immunized with the bivalent BA.5 vaccine because it is not yet available in the UK.
There is a reasonable possibility that the Queen died of a long Covid complication of pulmonary embolism.
I also express my appreciation for the journey and pictures. As a Canadian and British citizen the Queens passing is significant and while I would like to have also been there I and grateful that so many others have shown their respects to her for the long service that she promised and fulfilled.
If you can, venture outside of Zone 1 (not Stratford like on a previous trip) and see the more residential areas of London. See what life is like elsewhere.
It gives a great counterbalance to the photos you’ve taken and the general “feel” of the city as a whole.
Thank you so very much for doing this
Thank you for taking these pictures, Matthew,
Late to these. Very nice. Thanks. Must have been surreal that morning without crowds and quiet.