Photos: Thousands gather at Buckingham Palace to mourn the only queen many have ever known


By the dozens, then the hundreds, then the thousands, Britons from all walks of life converged on the ornate gates of Buckingham Palace in central London, first in fearful anticipation, then in mourning for the only monarch that virtually any of them had ever known.

Some wept. Some clasped hands. Others gazed around somberly, lost in their own thoughts.

Even before the formal announcement late Thursday afternoon of Queen Elizabeth II’s death at 96, as the day’s last light was vanishing amid bursts of rain, crowds had begun to form outside the palace, the official residence of British monarchs since the 19th century.

“It’s a somber moment,” said Jeffrey Julien, 57, a Londoner who watched the British flag being lowered to half-staff to mark Elizabeth’s death. “She is one public person in this country who has been present on TV, in news, for my entire life. She was the constant.”

As word spread earlier in the day that members of the royal family were hurrying to the queen’s side at her summer retreat of Balmoral Castle in Scotland, crowds in the capital broke into a rendition of “God Save the Queen.”

People gather on Queen Victoria Memorial outside Buckingham Palace.

People gather at Queen Victoria Memorial outside Buckingham Palace in central London on Thursday.

(Yui Mok / Associated Press)

London black cabs line the Mall leading to Buckingham Palace during a silent tribute to Queen Elizabeth II.

London black cabs lining the Mall leading to Buckingham Palace during a silent tribute to the queen, who died Thursday at 96.

(Leon Neal / Getty Images)

A female police officer places a bouquet of flowers outside Buckingham Palace.

A police officer lays flowers outside Buckingham Palace to mark the death of Queen Elizabeth II at Balmoral Castle on Thursday.

(Dan Kitwood / Getty Images)

Police officers stand among floral tributes left outside Buckingham Palace.

Police officers stand among floral tributes left outside Buckingham Palace in London on Thursday.

(Victoria Jones / Associated Press)

Members of the public stop study a picture of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II displayed at Piccadilly Circus.

Members of the public stop in the rain to study a huge picture of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II displayed at Piccadilly Circus in central London.

(Ben Stansall / AFP via Getty Images)

Crowds gather on the Queen Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace following the death today of Queen Elizabeth II

A swarm of mourners gather Thursday at Queen Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace in London.

(Getty Images)

A member of royal household staff posts a notice on the gates of the Buckingham Palace in London.

A member of royal household staff posts a notice on the gates of the Buckingham Palace in London, announcing the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

(Victoria Jones / Associated Press)

An announcement about Queen Elizabeth II's death is on display on the gates of Buckingham Palace.

An announcement about the death of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II is displayed on the gates of Buckingham Palace in London.

(Frank Augstein / Associated Press)

A man looks on holding a Union Jack umbrella as a rainbow is seen outside of Buckingham Palace in London.

A rainbow stretches across the sky above Buckingham Palace in London as an onlooker holds a Union Jack umbrella.

(Samir Hussein / WireImage)

A woman tucks flowers into the gate outside Buckingham Palace in central London.

A woman tucks flowers into the gate outside Buckingham Palace in central London on Thursday.

(Daniel Leal / AFP via Getty Images)

Bouquets of flowers are attached to the gates of Buckingham Palace in London.

Bouquets of flowers and an image of Queen Elizabeth II are attached to the gates of Buckingham Palace in London after the announcement of her death Thursday.

(Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images)

A crowd of people leans on steel barriers at Buckingham Palace after the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

A crowd of people leans on steel barriers at Buckingham Palace after the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

(Yui Mok / PA Images via Getty Images)



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