I have never thought of myself as much of a royalist...
But when the news broke that the Queen had passed away on Thursday 8th September 2022, it hit me harder than I expected.
I know people have many thoughts and feelings about the royal family, but regardless of what they might be, the week following her passing was remarkable for so many reasons.
I hope, regardless of your views, these notes might give a little glimpse into London for those who weren’t there.
The announcement came like a full-stop in the middle of a sentence you were enjoying reading. The national anthem interupted whatever was on TV.
Over the week, I felt a sense of emptiness, one that perhaps is shared by many. The nation has lost a key ingredient that we can never replace.
From singing along to a Queen medley in Covent Garden to witnessing the impeccable processions from the military, here are a few of my highlights.
A higher order
We live in a world where corporations are often considered the new religions. To some, queuing for trainers or a new phone may be the equivalent of visiting church on a Sunday.
I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that, but the last week was the antithesis of capitalism as religion.
The normal experience of daily city life — the bombardment of advertising, hunger for the latest tech gadget, and the desire to stand out and grab attention faded for a brief moment.
It was a week for people to come together, not purely to mourn, but to celebrate a life. It was a week where total strangers from all over the world shared in a piece of history.
It was as heartwarming as it was historical.
The centre of the world
On the Friday evening after the news broke I wandered around London to soak up the atmosphere.
I strolled down the Mall to see members of the public laying flowers, quietly staring up at the gates of Buckingham Palace. Many thinking "we'll never see the Queen stand on that balcony again."
It was only when I reached the palace that I realised how significant this news was to the world, not just the UK.
I was taken aback to find the world's media hunched up in countless marquees surrounding the palace, each with lights on and cameras out, late into the evening, communicating back to newsrooms throughout around the planet about what was happening.
It felt like I was at the centre of the world.
Singing along to Queen in Covent Garden
I wandered into Covent Garden on that Friday evening.
Street performers are here every day — some juggle swords, some walk on tightropes, some eat fire. Some do all of those at once.
As someone who’s lived in or near London all my life I tend to breeze through — I've been there and seen that many times!
But something was different on that Friday evening. Initially I thought it