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Queen tribute flowers will be turned into compost for royal gardens

·5-min read
Photo credit: CHRIS Jackson GETTY IMAGES
Photo credit: CHRIS Jackson GETTY IMAGES

Following Queen Elizabeth II's death, floral tributes have been left outside some of the Her Majesty's royal residences across the UK, including Buckingham Palace, Windsor, Sandringham and Balmoral, the retreat where she died peacefully on Thursday 8th September 2022.

It is customary for mourners to leave tributes (such as flowers, wreaths and cards) during this period of National Mourning, and the Royal Family have visited some of these locations to read the tributes in person.

King Charles III and Camilla, Queen Consort were among the first to view floral tributes to the late Queen Elizabeth II outside Buckingham Palace on 9th September, which is the London royal residence and administrative headquarters of the monarch.

While the day after (10th September), Prince William and Kate joined Prince Harry and Meghan to view the floral tributes at Windsor Castle.

Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images
Photo credit: Chris Jackson - Getty Images

Other members of the royal family – including Princess Beatrice, Peter Phillips, Zara Tindall, Lady Louise Windsor, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Prince Andrew, and Edward, the Earl of Wessex – read messages and floral tributes after attending a service at Crathie Kirk church near Balmoral. And more recently (15th September), Kate and William went to view tributes outside the gates of Sandringham Estate.

Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images
Photo credit: WPA Pool - Getty Images

While the Green Park Floral Tribute Garden is the official floral tribute site and the primary location for laying flowers near Buckingham Palace, there are locations all around the UK.

What counts as a floral tribute?

'Any form of floral tribute is acceptable,' Royal Parks explain. 'In the interests of sustainability, we ask visitors to only lay organic or compostable material.'

Please remove wrapping from flowers before your arrival, however, bins will be provided for those unable to do so. Removing the wrapping will also aid in the longevity of the flowers. Please note, teddy bears or balloons should not be brought, The Royal Parks advise. However, cards and labels will be accepted.

Photo credit: Carl Court - Getty Images
Photo credit: Carl Court - Getty Images

How long will floral tributes remain on site?

Floral tributes will be left on site at Green Park until all ceremonial activity has taken place. It is expected that these will be removed from park areas from seven to 14 days after the Queen's state funeral, which is taking place on Monday 19th September at Westminster Abbey.

What will happen to the flowers and cards?

Floral tributes will be monitored throughout this mourning period. Flowers that have deteriorated will be moved to the Hyde Park nursery for processing and composting, while cards and labels will be periodically separated from flowers and stored offsite. 'This process will be carried out with discretion and sensitivity,' Royal Parks confirm.

Once all floral tributes are removed from Green Park, they will be taken to the Hyde Park nursery for processing to remove any remaining packaging, cards and labels, and to separate plant material for composting in nearby Kensington Gardens. This organic composted material will then be used on shrubberies and landscaping projects across the Royal Parks.

Photo credit: CHRIS Jackson GETTY IMAGES
Photo credit: CHRIS Jackson GETTY IMAGES

• Where to lay tribute flowers •

There are key locations across the UK where you can lay flowers in memory of Her Majesty. There may also be places within your local community, such as a town hall or place of worship – please check the website of your local authority for further information.

London

A memorial flower garden has been created in Green Park, which is now the principle location for laying flowers near Buckingham Palace. Any flowers left in the proximity of Buckingham Palace will be sensitively moved at the end of each day to the Green Park Floral Tribute Garden.

Photo credit: Mike Kemp - Getty Images
Photo credit: Mike Kemp - Getty Images

Windsor

At Windsor Castle, flowers can be laid on the Long Walk at Cambridge Gate, close to the town centre. These flowers will be brought inside the Castle every evening, and placed on the Castle Chapter grass on the south side of St George's Chapel and Cambridge Drive, the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead confirm. Once again, please ensure you remove floral packaging.

Photo credit: CHRIS Jackson GETTY IMAGES
Photo credit: CHRIS Jackson GETTY IMAGES

Sandringham

Flowers can be laid at the Norwich Gate at Sandringham Estate in Norfolk for those wishing to pay their respects. A one-way system is in operation.

Photo credit: LINDSEY PARNABY - Getty Images
Photo credit: LINDSEY PARNABY - Getty Images

Belfast

Floral tributes can be laid in the dedicated area at Hillsborough Castle, on the Castle Forecourt, in front of the main gates. On arrival at the Eikon Centre, any cellophane wrapping will be removed and disposed. Notes will also be removed and preserved by the government's Northern Ireland Office (NIO) at Eikon Centre for onward transmission to Buckingham Palace.

Please note, other artefacts, such as teddy bears, are not allowed to be laid. Soft toys will be removed and stored at the Eikon Centre and later donated by the NIO to local hospitals.

Photo credit: PAUL FAITH - Getty Images
Photo credit: PAUL FAITH - Getty Images

Edinburgh

At the Palace of Holyroodhouse, members of the public can lay floral tributes in the Physic Garden, next to the Abbey Strand gate. To cut down on waiting times there are two separate queues. Local authorities have also made arrangements for floral tributes to be displayed across Scotland, please check with your Local Authority.

Balmoral

The Queen passed away at her beloved Scottish holiday home Balmoral. Flowers can be laid at the Main Gate to the Castle. 'Arrangements will be made between the Factor, Aberdeenshire Council and Police Scotland for members of the public wishing to leave floral tributes at the Main Gate to Balmoral Castle,' the Scottish government confirm.

Photo credit: Samir Hussein - Getty Images
Photo credit: Samir Hussein - Getty Images

Cardiff

Anyone wishing to leave flowers can do so at the main entrance of Cardiff City Hall. Local arrangements are also being made across Wales for the laying of floral tributes, please check your local authority website for details.

• An alternative tribute •

Another fitting way to pay tribute is to make a donation to one of Her Majesty's many charities and patronages. Read more at www.royal.uk.

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