London Reacts To The Death Of Queen Elizabeth II

By Londonist Last edited 13 months ago
London Reacts To The Death Of Queen Elizabeth II
A light up billboard announcing the death of the Queen
A tribute to the Queen shortly after her death. Image: Londonist

Following the announcement of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, here's how London is reacting to the news.

London pays its respects

Moments after the news went official, billboards around London switched over to pay tribute to the late monarch; we snapped the one in the top image opposite Wimbledon station last night.

People gathered in the pouring rain outside Buckingham Palace yesterday afternoon and night — and there was a rush to snap the official announcement of death, as it was fixed to the palace railings (We live in strange times.)

Black cabs — another icon of the city — lined up along the Mall to pay their respects too, some cabbies getting quite emotional:

We expect Buckingham Palace to become a site of pilgrimage or a shrine over the coming days and weeks — something we haven't seen since the death of Diana in 1997. It'll be interesting to see how many more tourists head to London in the coming days; the Queen was, after all, the greatest brand ambassador the city ever had. And let's not forget that she was head of state to 15 countries.

There are expected to be gun salutes from Hyde Park and Tower Hill today (9 September) — 96 rounds to be precise — marking, of course, the number of years the Queen lived.

Expect to hear muffled bells pealing throughout the city, too — likely for one hour from 12 noon on Friday 9 September. Westminster Abbey and St Paul's Cathedral will certainly be ringing theirs.

The London Eye switched off its lights last night, as a sign of respect, while The Shard went a regal purple:

Elsewhere, we've seen a video of Outernet London broadcasting images of the Queen, while playing renditions of the national anthem — all very surreal.

We expect there'll be many, many more tributes paid by buildings and landmarks through the city in the lead up to the funeral — dimmed lights, huge projections; you name it.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has said that the Queen "served for 70 years with unrivalled grace, dignity and purpose."  

TfL put out a short statement from Andy Byford, London's Transport Commissioner — who recently oversaw the opening of the Elizabeth line — saying: "It is with great sorrow that we have learnt of the death of Her Majesty The Queen. We send our deepest sympathy to His Majesty The King and all members of the Royal Family."

Messages of condolence really have been pouring out from all corners of London. And we mean all of them:

What's closed in London following the Queen's death?

Although London's expected to carry on as 'normal' today, a few closures have been announced.

Westminster Abbey will remain open for "for worship, prayer and reflection" until Sunday 11 September, after which it'll be closed until Wednesday 21 September — no doubt in preparation for the Queen's funeral.

Historic Royal Palaces has announced it will close all of its venues — which include the Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace, today (9 September), out of respect. The State Rooms at Buckingham Palace are also, predictably closed — and will likely remain so for the foreseeable.

The Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew will also close today (9 September):

In case you were wondering, the Elizabeth line — named after, and officially opened by, the late monarch is running.

Update: We've also seen that Selfridges on Oxford Street is closed "in line with protocol" and will reopen at 10am on Saturday 10 September.

Tonight's Prom (9 September) and the Last Night of the Proms (10 September) have been pulled:

Strikes suspended

While the Queen's death means the closure of some things, it has also led to the announcement that strike action planned by the RMT and TSSA for 15, 17 and 26 and 27 September will be suspended. Every cloud.

The Queen's funeral will be at Westminster Abbey. Image: M@/Londonist

Where and when will the Queen's funeral take place?

The funeral will take place at Westminster Abbey — reportedly in 10-12 days' time — with a bank holiday for national mourning. Expect most things to be shut in London that day. Ahead of the funeral, the Guardian reports there'll be rehearsals for the funeral procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey.

Where and when will Charles' coronation take place?

Charles III, our new king (that's going to take some getting used to), returns to London on Friday 9 September, for various appointments, including a meeting with the prime minister, and a broadcast to the nation.

As for the coronation, that's expected to take place at Westminster Abbey, too. But even though he's automatically our new monarch, the actual crowning won't be for a few months at least. Remember, his mum took almost one and a half years to have her coronation, after being pronounced Queen.

However, on Saturday 10 September, Charles will official be announced King at St James's Palace. London really is at the centre of all this.

Last Updated 09 September 2022

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