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‘She was astonishing’: thousands travel to Buckingham Palace to honor Queen | queen elizabeth ii

Thousands of mourners lined the streets outside Buckingham Palace on Saturday, where they paid respects to the Queen and hoped to catch a glimpse of King Charles III.

The well-wishers brought with them a colorful array of flowers, notes and tributes as they packed the Mall. By midday, the area surrounding the palace was close to full.

A mourner lays a bouquet of flowers outside Buckingham Palace on Saturday. Photograph: Loïc Venance/AFP/Getty Images

One note written by a child and left tied to a nearby lamp-post read: “To the Queen, I hope you like heaven. I love you. Goodbye. From Gracey.”

Among the mourners who felt compelled to travel to central London was 54-year-old Julie Sanders, from Ashtead, who said she admired the Queen because of her status as a female role model.

Julie Sanders holding flowers outside Buckingham Palace
Julie Sanders said the Queen had been an ‘astonishing role model’ for women. Photograph: Sophia Evans/The Observer

“I wasn’t a passionate royalist or anything, but I’m not a republican either,” she said. “I just think for a woman to give her whole life to serve all of us is really astonishing.

“She gave it selflessly, that was her commitment and that’s what she did without fail. She was a wife, a mother as well, and, as a woman, she was an astonishing role model.”

In a fitting tribute to the new King Charles III, there were a remarkable number of Cavalier King Charles spaniel dogs who had also made the trip to Buckingham Palace.

One of them, Twiggy, belonged to Estelle Isaacs, from London, who said the Queen had converted her from being a republican.

Estelle Isaacs with her Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Twiggy
Estelle Isaacs with her Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Twiggy. Photograph: Sophia Evans/The Observer

She said: “I’m here to lay some flowers for the Queen. I actually used to be quite anti-royal but I’ve come around to it. As a half-Venezuelan, I’ve seen what’s happened out there and it’s made me appreciate the stability of the royal family.”

Sam Parton, 31, from Balham, described himself as “very patriotic” and said he had come to pay his respects to the Queen.

Sam Parton and Lily Reynolds outside Buckingham Palace
Sam Parton and Lily Reynolds wanted to show their respects on a ‘monumental day’. Photograph: Sophia Evans/The Observer

“It’s a monumental day so we wanted to come down to show our respects to an exceptional woman who gave her life to our country,” he said.

“I love everything about the royal family. She was an exceptional woman and it makes you proud to be British.”

Sam’s girlfriend Lily Reynolds, 27, added: “I’ve always been a royalist, I love the Queen and the whole family, to be honest. It’s been a sad few days.”

However, in a recurring theme, she said she was less keen on King Charles III but was willing to give him a chance.

“I’m sure Charles will grow on me,” she said. “I’m more of a Queen fan but he’s also dedicated his life to the country.”

Sam Quinn, 37, traveled from Wimbledon with her husband, Steve, and their 10-month-old child Hendrix. She said: “I liked the fact that King Charles acknowledged the new Princess of Wales in his speech of her and the weight that will be on her shoulders of her.”

Steve added: “It’s a historic time in British history, obviously she was queen for 70 years and I guess today is somewhere to go and acknowledge that. Her entire life de ella has been dedicated to serving her nation de ella and ella has been part of Britain for our whole lives. ”

Steve and Sam Quinn, pictured with their baby, Hendrix
Steve and Sam Quinn, pictured with their baby, Hendrix. Photograph: Sophia Evans/The Observer

Henry Middleditch, 31, from London, said: “I think Charles has been in a complicated position all his life.

“He’s had to straddle trying to be non-political and not standing for anything, while also having views like everyone does – and not altogether bad views, a lot of the things he is now publicly distancing himself from.”

Sam Stewart, 31, concluded: “The Queen is a legend. She’s done a lot for the country in her life from her. She devoted her whole life for something that was n’t her choice of her.

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