Prince Philip: Flowers and flags laid outside royal residences up and down UK

9 April 2021, 19:39 | Updated: 13 April 2021, 05:20

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

From Buckingham Palace to Holyroodhouse and Windsor Castle, floral tributes have been laid outside royal residences up and down the country.

Members of the public have been laying flowers outside royal households and estates across the UK on Friday following the announcement that Prince Philip had died.

Dozens of wellwishers have lined the gates outside Windsor Castle to lay flowers and pay tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh.

Asked why she made the half-hour journey from Wokingham to pay her respects, gym owner Mary Marrison, 40, said: "I think it's what makes us British, having a monarchy.

"And he's been the support of our monarch for all of our lives, and I feel like he deserves the respect."

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A mother and daughter look at flowers at Cambridge Gate outside Windsor Castle, Berkshire
A mother and daughter look at flowers at Cambridge Gate outside Windsor Castle, Berkshire. Picture: PA
A bouquets of flowers with a note is seen outside Buckingham Palace
A bouquets of flowers with a note is seen outside Buckingham Palace. Picture: PA

Patsy and John Parnell, who live locally in Windsor, said they would always wave at the Duke of Edinburgh at events they had attended in the past.

Mr Parnell said. "We've walked up and down this road for a long, long time and just feel like the man has reached the ripe old age of 99 and he's done great things.

"From my point of view this is the first real big dent in the royal family.

"I know they've had their ups and downs but this one is so serious, I mean now she (the Queen) is on her own.

"He's not an easy man to understand, he kept himself to himself, but nevertheless you have to admire that he was a man of principle.

"He stood by his wife and he never veered from duty, I can't find any fault in him."

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Traffic in some areas of the town centre close to the castle is being diverted as crowds continue to gather.

A number of well-wishers have laid flowers at the Henry VIII Gate, with several other tributes left at the Cambridge Gate.

George Jones fought back tears as he laid a large bouquet of white lilies at the latter.

He crouched at the gate with his hands clasped together in prayer as he silently paid tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh.

The 29-year-old farmer, who travelled from Chelmsford in Essex, described Philip as "a father figure".

With tears welling up in his eyes, he said: "I was saying my goodbyes and was feeling slightly overwhelmed.

"I think it's hit everyone hard, I'm in disbelief."

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A man speaks and gestures as he brings flowers to Buckingham Palace
A man speaks and gestures as he brings flowers to Buckingham Palace. Picture: PA

At Buckingham Palace, stewards have put a barrier around floral tributes placed at the gates, aimed at preventing overcrowding.

Members of the public were advised to join a queue to take pictures and place flowers, with stewards urging people not to gather in large crowds.

More than 100 floral tributes - ranging from bunches of daffodils to fuller bouquets, many with notes attached - and two Union flags have been placed at the gates by mourners.

One mourner, who gave her name only as Christine, said she thought it would be "very difficult" for the Queen following the death of the Duke of Edinburgh.

The 81-year-old said: "I think he will be remembered as someone who has given a great deal to our country.

"Not just the country, but the Commonwealth, the world, and above all, to his wonderful wife the Queen, supporting her.

A row of bouquets leans against the gate outside the Sandringham Estate
A row of bouquets leans against the gate outside the Sandringham Estate. Picture: LBC

"It will be very difficult for her. One wouldn't really know, she will be feeling very sad, she is going through thoughts - who knows?

"Nobody will know because it will be very private, but one knows what it feels like to lose somebody."

When asked about people laying flowers, she said: "I think it's marvellous that they have come out to show their appreciation, to show their sympathy in some way."

However, No10 asked people not to leave flowers at royal residences due to the ongoing coronavirus restrictions.

A spokesperson for the Cabinet Office said: "Although this is an extraordinarily difficult time for many, we are asking the public not to gather at royal residences, and continue to follow public health advice particularly on avoiding meeting in large groups and on minimising travel.

"We are supporting the royal household in asking that floral tributes should not be laid at royal residences at this time."

A woman, with dog, lays flowers at the gates of Balmoral Castle in Royal Deeside
A woman, with dog, lays flowers at the gates of Balmoral Castle in Royal Deeside. Picture: PA

A statement on the plaque outside Buckingham Palace read: "It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

"His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle.

"Further announcements will be made in due course.

"The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss."

An online book of condolence is now available on the royal website for those who wish to send a personal message of condolence, the royal family's Twitter account announced.

It added: "During the current public health situation, Books of Condolence will not be available for the public to sign.

"The Royal Family ask that members of the public consider making a donation to a charity instead of leaving floral tributes in memory of The Duke."

Floral tributes are left at the gates of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh
Floral tributes are left at the gates of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh. Picture: PA

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon urged Scots not to lay floral tributes at Balmoral or the Palace of Holyroodhouse, as would be customary.

She added: "Online books of condolence will open in the coming days to allow people to pay their respects.

"In line with current restrictions, the Royal Household has requested that members of the public do not leave floral tributes or gather at the Palace of Holyroodhouse or Balmoral Castle at this time.

"The Palace has suggested that people could donate to charity instead if they wish to do so."

A notice announcing the death has been posted on the gates of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen's official residence in Edinburgh.

Flags were lowered to half-mast there, as well as at the Scottish Parliament, Scottish Government and local authority buildings.