The British government is expecting large crowds in central London in the coming days as mourners visit Buckingham Palace and royal residences to express their condolences over the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
The Cabinet Office issued a statement on Friday warning the public of ‘potential risks to public safety’ and ‘delays to some public transport’ as large numbers of people gather for ceremonies and commemorative events.
Following news of the Queen’s death on Thursday, a crowd of thousands gathered outside Buckingham Palace, braving heavy rain. The numbers started piling up much earlier today when officials were still “concerned” about Elizabeth’s health.
The Queen reigned over England for 70 years and most people in the country have never known another monarch.
At Princess Diana’s funeral, around one million bouquets of flowers were laid by the public, according to The Guardian.
At the Queen’s funeral, the crowd could be on a whole different scale.
The date of the Queen’s funeral has not been officially determined, but will likely come at the end of the 10-day mourning period, which began when the Queen died on Thursday.
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The UK government has announced that “access to certain areas, particularly in central London, will be restricted, with road closures and diversions which will cause delays for vehicles and pedestrians”, as preparations are made underway across the city for the Queen’s state funeral and related events. .
“The public should check ahead and plan accordingly,” the statement read. “Those traveling are asked to follow the instructions given to them by the stewards and the police.”
The Cabinet Office is also asking the public to only lay flowers in designated areas of the royal residences in London, Windsor, Edinburgh, Balmoral, Hillsborough Castle and Sandringham.
Even before the state funeral takes place, a number of important events relating to the Queen’s death and the accession of King Charles III are likely to attract large crowds.
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A memorial service for the Queen will be held at St Paul’s Cathedral, a 96-gun salute will sound from several locations in London and there will be an official ceremony declaring King Charles III at St James’s Palace.
Huge numbers are expected during the four days the queen’s body will be on display in Westminster Hall, the BBC has reported.
In 2002, over 200,000 people paid their respects to the Queen Mother while she was in state.
In 2011, at the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, Westminster City Council estimated that around one million people gathered in the streets of London and 52 people were arrested at the event.
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