Britons 'proud and sad at the same time' | Death of Queen Elizabeth II

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Britons “proud and sad at the same time” | Death of Queen Élisabeth II

A strange atmosphere hovers over Green Park, just north of Buckingham Palace. Bouquets of flowers are placed there in homage to the late queen in an endless stream of mourners.

Thank you Madam!

“This way, please.” The tone remains polite, even though these phrases are repeated hundreds of times. Even if there are too many people in the Green Park. Even if there are still a few days left for this ritual.

As soon as they enter the park, the public is guided to the area where they can leave their bouquets and cards, or light a candle and collect yourself for a few moments. A constant flow. A human tide.

To get there, you have to walk for a few minutes, your pace slowed by the pace of hundreds of others who have come with the same idea in mind. With the same desire to participate in communion.

Stay on the trail, please. The injunction is not always respected. But no one gets angry. After all, it is a time of mourning, of national pain. The famous British phlegm is de rigueur.

Brits go to Green Park to y leave flowers, drawings and cards in memory of their queen.

Some stop halfway, lay their flowers at the foot of a random tree. It's allowed. But they will be moved, underlines a parks employee. Better to go to the planned place.

So you have to walk a little more, but the effort is quickly rewarded. I admit that it is moving, launches a woman, visibly touched. She has just arrived. We should all come here.

A fence surrounds the section of the park reserved for floral tributes. There is only one entry. But where to put her flowers? Near this tree? In this island of bouquets, gathered in the shape of a heart?

A vast space that has become a garden-labyrinth. Between the masses of bouquets, paths to walk slowly. All over the place, messages to the queen left open for others to read.

Children's drawings were also deposited, some washed out by the rain. Balloons flutter in the wind. Photographs of the queen barely protrude from the flowers.

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This tree is the best, explains a mother who came with her two daughters. She points to a large, old, massive oak tree. Surrounded by a wide belt of flowers. Like a tree on an island.

He is very handsome and strong. Like the queen. It's going to take a lot to bring him down. The family crossed half of England to come here. She leaves, breathless at what she has seen.

Conversations here are held in low voices. The step is slow. The eye goes from one detail to another. The nose notices the smell of damp earth mixed with the scent of flowers.

There are no outbursts of voice. But it is not sad as a cemetery. It's full of color, with touches of humor. It's both serene and intriguing.

It is monumental. It's crazy, launches one of the teenagers, flying over the thousands of bouquets of flowers placed around her. So many individual tributes to a much-loved woman.

All of this reminds me of tributes to Diana, confides a man who came to lay a bouquet of roses and carnations near the same tree. There were flowers as far as the eye could see in the days following the princess's death in 1997.

It was in another park, under different circumstances. This time, floral tributes are held across the country. Impossible to compare the quantities of bouquets deposited.

It's lovely, launches a woman to her sister, finishing reading a note written in a young hand. It's fantastic. We have to admit that we are good at doing this sort of thing.

Good for paying this kind of discreet and impressive tribute to a beloved woman, but also a symbol of a political system that is not appreciated by everyone.

A British crown surrounded by flowers.

This space is a maze of smells and memories. So many offerings to a woman personifying the ideal of a nation whose power has declined as it has aged.

I am both very proud and sad . It's a very strange feeling. The man in the beige raincoat and round face spent long minutes saying nothing in front of his flowers.

He had to absorb the scene, the atmosphere. Admit that a page of history had truly turned. That Queen Elizabeth II had disappeared, taking an entire era with her.

The man took a few moments to clarify his thoughts. The amount of flowers around him leaves no doubt: there is something to be proud of to see how the British have united in this mourning.

A pride that does not erase the reality of this death. A reality that we will have to absorb one day. He already knows it. That's why he's sad. Sad to have lost his queen.

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