Well-wishers arriving at Buckingham Palace to pay respects to Philip

Helen William, PA
·3-min read

Well-wishers of different generations and nationalities are arriving at Buckingham Palace to pay their respects to the Duke of Edinburgh.

They travelled to central London to lay flowers and take in the scene despite calls for them to stay away due to coronavirus restrictions.

The small crowds gathered on a breezy spring day as the Union flag flew at half mast above the palace.

Americans Todd and Brittney Provino, who are living in Battersea, south London, were prompted by their three young children to stop by because daughter Hadley, nine, wanted to “leave some flowers because the Queen will be sad”.

Todd and Britney Provino and their children
Todd and Britney Provino and their children (Aaron Chown/PA)

Hadley had made red paper poppies and laid them in front of the palace.

Mrs Provino, 41, said: “Hadley said she wanted to make poppies because she knew they were flowers of remembrance and they have a military link.

“We wanted the kids to be part of this. It is something that goes down in history.

“They asked about Philip and we told them that he dedicated his life to this country. We wanted to show respect. It felt like the right thing to do.

“It has also been a good lesson. We have been telling the children about what it means to be really committed to something and to have a life of service and duty – and also the fact that he and the Queen had been married that long.”

Neil Loughton, founder of the Penny Farthing Club, rode his antique bicycle to the palace gates to pay his respects.

People ride penny farthings past Buckingham Palace
People ride penny farthings past Buckingham Palace (Aaron Chown/PA)

He said: “We play bicycle polo and the duke used to play the sport as well. We wanted to come and pay our respects.

“I think that there are some things that are just important and need to be done – 99 years of life and more than 70 years of service deserves some recognition.”

Signs outside the palace told well-wishers that flowers would be removed.

A teddy bear sat on floral tributes where a card said: “Philip, you were such a big part of our lives, you will be missed.”

A small number of flowers were propped up against a fence at Buckingham Palace. Pinned to one bunch was the message: “Dear Philip Rest in peace. You were one of us.”

At Windsor Castle, a member of the royal household staff started laying flowers inside a courtyard.

Flowers outside St George’s Chapel
Flowers outside St George’s Chapel (Gareth Fuller/PA)

The woman placed several bouquets at the centre of the lawn within the castle grounds, which is just beyond the entrance, guarded by four armed police officers, and can be seen from Castle Hill road.

Members of the public also continued laying flowers at a separate entrance near the Long Walk, for a third day, although this has been discouraged due to coronavirus restrictions, and bouquets have been cleared away each night.

Buckingham Palace said Philip died peacefully in his sleep at Windsor Castle on Friday, two months before his 100th birthday, leaving the Queen and the royal family “mourning his loss”.

His son, the Prince of Wales, said on Saturday that his “dear Papa” had devoted himself to the Queen, his family and the country for 70 years.

The UK is officially in a period of national mourning for the next week, up to and including the funeral on Saturday 17.