As London prepares for the funeral


EAnother mystery surrounding Her Majesty's funeral has been revealed: Volunteers from all over the UK collected the bouquets in front of Buckingham Palace for hours and carefully removed the plastic foil by hand so that the plastic can be recycled. The flowers themselves are composted, the compost is then distributed in the royal family's parks and gardens. But only after Elizabeth II found her final resting place. Until then, however, at least five days will pass.

Wednesday begins surprisingly calmly London. The number of police officers in the morning seems almost as large as the number of onlookers, some of whom nevertheless spent the night outdoors. And in the pouring rain. "I just got wet," says Jane Small. Still, she was annoyed. Because the newspapers had written that tents were not allowed to be set up along the mall. So she left her shelter at home and sat in the rain. Unfortunately, she also missed the arrival of the coffin the night before, because the column did not go to the palace via the Mall, but via Constitution Hill.

Vanessa Nathakumaran:


Vanessa Nathakumaran: "My great-uncle was married by King George VI. knighted.”
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Image: Photo Peter-Philipp Schmitt


But King Charles III. and Queen Camilla caught a glimpse of them a little later as they were driving home. Does she like Camilla? "Of course, I like them all." And Camilla especially: "So many bad things have been said about her, but not a bad word ever crossed her lips. How can you not like a woman like that?” she asks, almost a little indignant. She is glad that the sun is now peeping through the trees and bringing a little warmth. At night, when it got too cold for her, she went to get tea or coffee while her neighbor kept the place free. The woman from Winchester with the heart-shaped Union Jack earrings is a keen royalist. She was at William and Kate's wedding, she also made a special trip to Windsor for Harry and Meghan, and at the Queen's Platinum Jubilee in June she stayed a full four days and four nights right here on the same spot on the Mall. "The place is strategic," she says. "I have a clear view of Buckingham Palace and it's not far to the toilet."

Jane Small:


Jane Small: "I especially like Camilla because a bad word never crosses her lips."
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Image: Photo Peter-Philipp Schmitt


There is no shortage of toilets. Large drinking water tanks have also been set up in St James's Park along the Mall, which leads from Buckingham Palace towards Trafalgar Square. London has prepared well for the invasion of hundreds of thousands that are expected. More than 1000 volunteers, stewards and police officers are on the road to give people a hand. They do it with such friendliness that they always get spontaneous applause. There is also applause when the garbage truck comes by to collect the many coffee cups – which, however, always causes an uproar: is there a royal coming around the corner? Possibly the king with his wife, who wants to shake hands unannounced?

Gareth Mills:


Gareth Mills: "The Queen has paid for me long enough to pay my respects."
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Image: Photo Peter-Philipp Schmitt


Nothing fazes Gareth Mills that easily. He's standing at the mall in a tweed jacket. He was in the Royal Navy and wears his medals proudly on his chest. "The Queen has paid for me long enough that I can now pay my respects to her," he says. He's from Dorchester, left at four in the morning. "I missed the big rain." He is particularly curious about the brothers William and Harry, who seem to have gotten back together after the death of their grandmother. "Let's see how long that lasts," says the fifty-three-year-old somewhat sceptically.



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