Since the Queen died on Thursday, mourners have paid their respects by leaving flowers, knitted versions of the late monarch and her friend Paddington Bear and, in one case, a marmalade sandwich, which was left at Balmoral in Scotland.
Sunflowers have been one of the most common tributes left at Buckingham Palace, Windsor and Balmoral.
Social media users have been sharing their reasons for honouring the Queen with the yellow flower, saying “she had the most amazing smile” and they wanted “to highlight the affection that the people of Ukraine have for the Queen”.
Lloyd Rees, a London-based lawyer, told the PA news agency he left sunflowers near Buckingham Palace to highlight the Queen’s legacy of bringing “joy and happiness to people”.
I went to Buckingham Palace earlier to pay my respects to Her Majesty the Queen. I left some sunflowers and a message in the special floral tribute garden that has been set up in Green Park next to the Palace. It was an incredibly moving experience 🇬🇧 🌻 (1/2) pic.twitter.com/SRUekGCXuo
— Lloyd Rees (@Lloyd_Rees) September 10, 2022
“Her Majesty the Queen gave a lifetime of service to our country. I felt I must visit the Palace and pay my respects to the Queen,” the 32-year-old said.
“I decided to leave a bouquet of sunflowers as she had brought so much joy and happiness to so many people for so long.”
As well as the bouquet, Mr Rees left a note at a floral tribute garden in Green Park saying: “Thank you for your service to our nation. A constant in a changing world. We will miss you. With love.”
When he heard about the Queen’s death on Thursday, he said he “couldn’t quite believe it”.
“She was all we had ever known. It is still surreal,” he added.
The managing director of L&D flowers, in Pinchbeck, south Lincolnshire, said the summer heatwave in many parts of the UK, including London, which saw temperatures into their 40s, could also be behind the legions of sunflowers.
“This is the longest heatwave we’ve had for about five years and, based on current weather predictions, we calculate a harvest of around 13 million stems this season”, James Lacey said.