PEOPLE of all ages have been paying tribute to Her Majesty today by laying wreaths, flowers and observing a period of silence as church bells toll.

With a period of national mourning officially underway, residents in Southampton have been reflecting on the life and legacy of Queen Elizabeth II.

Britain's longest serving monarch died on Thursday afternoon aged 96 after a 70-year reign.

She will be missed by communities up and down the country and beyond.

Read more: Full national mourning guidance issued to businesses, public services and sport


On Friday, dozens of mourners gathered at the Civic Centre for a wreath-laying ceremony led by a Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire and the Lord Mayor of Southampton, Councillor Jacqui Rayment.

Southampton City Council leader, Councillor Satvir Kaur, and chief executive, Mike Harris, were among those who attended.

Ginny Wright laid a bouquet of flowers besides the wreaths after the ceremony.

The 55-year-old from Southampton said: “A lot of people have been shocked by it.

“It’s the sudden speed it’s all happened at - it’s knocked people for six.

“I couldn’t get up to London so this is the next best thing.”

Books of condolence are available to sign in the Civic Centre and Central, Bitterne, and Shirley libraries.

Daily Echo: The Queen's book of condolence at Southampton Civic CentreThe Queen's book of condolence at Southampton Civic Centre (Image: Newsquest)

Writing in the book in the Civic Centre, Juliet Dufill described the Queen as “wonderful.”

The 58-year-old said: “It’s sad and she will be missed, she’s wonderful. She has always been the Queen since I was born.

“I think everybody feels the same and it’s going to be a great loss.”

Her husband Peter, an ex-serviceman, added: “I was a serviceman for 35 years and the Queen was my boss. I swore allegiance to her.

“In my second career I was a public servant too. We have grandchildren, and it’s a whole new experience for us as well as them.”

Buckingham Palace has said that it is the King’s wish that a period of Royal Mourning be observed from now until seven days after the Queen’s funeral.

The date of the funeral will be confirmed in due course.

The reading of the Proclamation will take place in Southampton, Eastleigh, Fareham and Gosport this weekend.


Earlier in the day, church bells in Southampton rang out 96 times across a respectful silence in tribute to the Queen.

A sombre mood resonated in and around St Mary’s Church at midday as the bells started to ring.

Young children from St Mary’s Church of England Primary School gathered – having spent the morning learning about the Queen.

Daily Echo: Mourners at St Mary's ChurchMourners at St Mary's Church (Image: Newsquest)

Headteacher Daniel Constable-Phelps spoke to the Daily Echo with schoolgirls Amna, seven, and ten-year-olds Fatika and Ellie.

Young Fatika said: “I think she is a role model and she should be remembered by everyone forever.”

Ellie added: “I think the Queen is a really good person and she should always be remembered for what she has done.”

Amna said: “We have come to the church today to listen to the bells because the Queen has died.”

People gathered spoke in low voices, reflecting on the first full day of mourning.

Read more: Listen as church bells toll 96 times in poignant tribute

Mr Constable-Phelps said: “We are a CoE school and we, like everyone else in the country, are really saddened by the loss of the Queen.

“We wanted to mark the event with the children as a monumental occasion like this is something that may only happy once in their life time.

“We made the decision last night that we would bring the children down.

“Really this is about celebrating life and the Queen.

“Today the children are off timetable and they are learning about the Queen, her life, and what she did.

“We have been praying a lot and thinking about the life she has led.”

Churches across the city - and the nation - rang out at midday.

Daily Echo: Kirsty ComminsKirsty Commins (Image: Newsquest)

Mum-of-two, Kirsty Commins, was at Shirley Baptist Church for the occasion.

She told the Echo: “When I was a child my dad was in the armed forces and there was a big strong connection with the Royal Family and so I just grew up with this admiration and connection to them.

“I don’t know if my dad has met the Queen but both my parents have met Prince Philip.

“When I heard the announcement I literally burst into tears.

“I think my daughter was crying as well.

“Our love for the Royal Family has been passed onto our children as well, they have that love for the royal members as well. It’s just such a sad day.”

Flowers at Broadlands

A steady stream of people have also been placing bouquets of flowers at the Broadlands estate where the Queen honeymooned following her wedding to Prince Philip.

They spoke of the Queen as being dignified, dedicated and an inspiration to the nation.

Many felt gratitude for her long service in her 70-year reign - and said she was a Queen who "always did her duty".

Among them was Kate Parry, 42, who attended with her two children Isla, 11, and Ethan, eight.

They came after school to show their mark of respect to the Queen.

Daily Echo: Kate Parry, 42, with her two children Isla, 11, and Ethan, eight at BroadlandsKate Parry, 42, with her two children Isla, 11, and Ethan, eight at Broadlands (Image: Newsquest)

Mum Kate said: “I would like to thank her very much for all that she has done for us. It was very sad to hear yesterday.”

Jean Treacy, 76, also placed a bouquet - a poignant moment for her after attending the monarch's coronation on June 2, 1953.

She said: “I went to her coronation.

"I will always remember it. I remember the golden carriage.

"She was a lovely Queen, she always did her duty.”

Read more: Southampton legend Lawrie McMenemy shares memories of meeting the Queen

Princess Elizabeth and her husband honeymooned at Broadlands after their wedding, which took place on November 21, 1947.

She returned as Queen in 1955 where she spent the weekend on a private visit to Admiral Earl Mountbatten and Countess Mountbatten in Broadlands, Romsey.

She also attended the morning service at Romsey Abbey.

Among those placing flowers today was Anne Horn, 80, who: “It is sad. I will miss her because she has done so much for us.”

Roy Godwin, 53, added: “I would say thank you for all the 70 years of service. I miss her. It is sad.”

Trevor Fraser, 75, said: “She has always been there for us. We have never known life without her.

"She was an inspiration to us all and a very dignified person. Never controversial at all. She should be missed.”

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