‘Absolute chaos’: Mourners seen ‘jumping over walls’ to lay flowers for the Queen at Green Park after staff imposed ‘temporary closure’ due to fears the huge crowds could ‘overwhelm’ the stewarding operation
- Mourners said they missed their moments to lay flowers at Green Park
- But alternative sites like Hyde Park have been available since Tuesday for public
- Some people were also videoed jumping the wall into Green Park during closure
- The Queen’s funeral: All the latest Royal Family news and coverage
Mourners were seen ‘jumping over walls’ to lay flowers for the Queen at Green Park after staff imposed a ‘temporary closure’ due to fears the huge crowds could ‘overwhelm’ the stewarding operation yesterday.
A former army nurse said the scenes near the royal park, close to Piccadilly Road and the Mall, were ‘absolute chaos’ on Sunday after she was turned away alongside her sister ahead of the Monarch’s funeral on Monday.
Margaret Pritchard, 73, who queued for three hours, told the Times: ‘They closed the park with no warning and we weren’t told until we got to the front of queue. It was just absolute chaos.’
At 1.30pm on Sunday, the newspaper reported, the police and stewards told the crowd that the royal park had been closed as mourners tried to leave flowers and memorials to the Queen at the Green Park Floral Tribute Garden.
One man even shared a video on Twitter of people jumping the wall as mourners were desperate to share their tributes.
David Whitney said: ‘People entirely dressed in clothes from M&S jumping the wall to get into Green Park. this Royal funeral is starting to feel a lot like Glastonbury.’
Hyde Park was also opened on Tuesday as another site for people to lay tributes and people were also seen to be marking the 8pm memorial silence at Green Park on Sunday.
The funeral of the only monarch most Britons have known will also involve the biggest security operation London has ever seen.
Candles are lit in memory of Queen Elizabeth II in Green Park outside of Buckingham Palace on Sunday evening
Signs notify visitors of the national minute’s silence in memory of Queen Elizabeth II inside of Green Park on Sunday
Members of the public place flowers in memory of Queen Elizabeth II in Green Park outside of Buckingham Palace on Sunday
The country yesterday observed one-minute silence to remember the Queen, with people invited to mark the occasion privately at home, on their doorstep or street, or at community events and vigil
Chloe Staunton, 22, who came from Manchester said that long queues into Green Park from half a mile away made her give up even trying.
She told the Times: ‘It’s just so disappointing because I’ve travelled quite far and I need to go back home tomorrow so now I won’t have a chance to experience what’s a really big historical moment.’
Mayor Sadiq Khan said today’s state funeral is an ‘unprecedented’ security challenge, with hundreds of thousands of people packing central London and a funeral guest list of 500 emperors, kings, queens, presidents, prime ministers and other leaders from around the world.
‘It’s been decades since this many world leaders were in one place,’ Mr Khan said. ‘This is unprecedented … in relation to the various things that we’re juggling.’
‘There could be bad people wanting to cause damage to individuals or to some of our world leaders,’ he told The Associated Press. ‘So we are working incredibly hard – the police, the security services and many, many others – to make sure this state funeral is as successful as it can be.’
Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Cundy said the ‘hugely complex’ policing operation is the biggest in the London force’s history, surpassing the London 2012 Olympics.
‘Our response here in London will be proportionate, it will be balanced, and officers will only be taking action where it is absolutely necessary,’ he said.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Mark Rowley said the goal was to keep the event safe, ‘and try to do it in as unobtrusive a way as possible, because this is obviously a solemn occasion.’
US President Joe Biden (right) accompanied by First Lady Jill Biden (middle) are welcomed by Master of the Household Sir Tony Johnstone-Burt (left) as they arrive at Buckingham Palace for a State Reception in honour of the late Queen yesterday
Queen Elizabeth II’s grandchildren (clockwise from front centre) the Prince of Wales, Peter Phillips, James, Viscount Severn, Princess Eugenie, the Duke of Sussex, Princess Beatrice, Lady Louise Windsor and Zara Tindall hold a vigil on Saturday
President Emmanuel Macron (right) and his wife Brigitte (left) arrive for the glittering state reception which took place in the picture gallery and state apartments and include drinks and canapes
Queen Rania Al-Abdullah of Jordan (left) is pictured coming out of a car on the steps of Buckingham Palace dressed in a black as the Crown Prince Hussein of Jordan (right) also makes his way up the steps
More than 10,000 police officers will be on duty Monday, with London officers supplemented by reinforcements from all of Britain’s 43 police forces. Hundreds of volunteer marshals and members of the armed forces will also act as stewards along the processional route.
They are just the most visible part of a security operation that is being run from a high-tech control center near Lambeth Bridge, not far from Parliament.
Street drains and garbage bins are being searched and sealed. Tomorrow there will be police spotters on rooftops, sniffer dogs on the streets, marine officers on the River Thames and mounted police on horseback.
Flying drones over Central London has been temporarily banned, and Heathrow Airport is grounding scores of flights so that aircraft noise does not disturb the funeral service.
After being taken by gun carriage from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch, the State Hearse will carry the Queen’s coffin west along the south edge of Hyde Park in central London, before passing through Queens Gate and heading down Cromwell Road. It will then head down Talgarth Road via the Hammersmith Flyover, Great West Road (A4) and Great South West Road (A30). It will continue on the A30 and will then take the A308 to make the final part of the journey to Shaw Farm Gate outside Windsor Castle, where it will be met by the procession that will take it up the Long Walk to St George’s Chapel
Authorities face the challenge of keeping 500 world leaders safe, without ruffling too many diplomatic feathers. Presidents, prime ministers and royalty will gather offsite before being taken by bus to the abbey – though an exception is being made for Mr Biden, who is expected to arrive in his armoured limousine, known as The Beast.
Another challenge is the sheer size of the crowds expected to gather around Westminster Abbey and along the route the coffin will travel after the funeral, past Buckingham Palace to Hyde Park. From there it will be taken by hearse about 20 miles to Windsor, where another 2,000 police officers will be on duty.
The Queen is due to be interred in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle alongside her husband Prince Philip, who died last year aged 99.
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