‘You could hear a pin drop’: Hundreds gather for ‘moving’ Hyde Park gun salute for Queen

Mourners gathered for the 16-minute tribute as King Charles III arrived at Buckingham Palace

Thomas Kingsley
Friday 09 September 2022 15:57 BST
Gun salute performed in London to commemorate Queen Elizabeth’s 96 years

More than 1000 mourners gathered at Hyde Park to watch a 96-round gun salute marking the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Crowds gathered from midday under grey clouds as the Queen’s Life Guard, mounted on horses, rode through the park in preparation as the nation remembers its longest-serving monarch.

Christine Blamey and Adrian Baer, a couple visiting from Australia, attended the gun salute, listening in from the Princess Diana memorial garden in the park.

More than one thousand mourners gathered in Hyde Park to watch a 96-round gun salute marking the death of Queen Elizabeth II (PA)

“It’s an outpouring of emotion here,” Mr Baer told The Independent. “I have been amazed at the respect people have shown and the age group that has come.

“We’re leaving today but we had to be here to pay our respects,” Ms Blamey added.

The Honourable Artillery Company during the Royal Gun Salute at Tower Bridge to mark the start of the Platinum Jubilee celebratory weekend in June 2022 (PA Wire)

Judie Harris, 62, said there was a silence so profound among the crowd watching the gun salute that you could “hear a pin drop” in between rounds being fired. Ms Harris, a finance officer from Solihull in the West Midlands, who saw the ceremony with her husband, Milner, said: “It was incredible. So moving. Profound.

“We couldn’t miss the opportunity to come down and pay our respects.” Mr Harris, 71, a retired finance specialist, added: “To witness today, we’ve been extremely lucky - privileged.

“We wanted to pass on our admiration to the Queen and her family, a recognition of what she’s done for us. She will be missed.”

Judie and Milner Harris said they feel ‘privileged’ to witness today’s gun salute (Thomas Kingsley/ The Independent)

The end of the 96-round gun salute was met with a round of applause from mourners, many of who stayed after the tribute reflecting on the weight of the nation’s loss.

Craig Thomas, 52, said he felt “emotional” watching it. Mr Thomas, a property developer based in central London said: “I feel really sad about the Queen passing away.

“I wanted to be alone yesterday, but today I wanted to be here for something where there was an atmosphere and to show my respect.”

Describing the salute, he said: “After a couple of minutes, people stopped talking and it was really quiet, which was touching.

“It was like being in a church. It was emotional.”

96 rounds of fire were shot for each year the Queen lived (Getty Images)

A member of the thousand-strong crowd watching the Queen's death gun salute in Hyde Park said the 16-minute-long ceremony was “very moving”.

Ronan, 59, from Enfield in north London, who watched with his wife, Catherine, 57, said: “I think the death of the Queen is something that's unique and a moment in history.

“We came here to watch because we want to express our appreciation.

“The salute was very moving, just the time it took - one gun for every year of her life - it was extraordinary really.

“People were very respectful, they weren't talking, and they applauded at the end.”

Catherine added: “It felt like a historical moment, and we wanted to be here.”

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