This Saturday morning, in front of Buckingham Palace, the sun is shining. Above the palace, the Union Jack has been at half mast for a week. A dozen white tents have been set up for the many journalists, in special edition since the morning. A few passers-by, joggers and curious people take a picture of this immense building, the official residence of the Queen of England. In front of the palace, a sign indicates that it is “kindly requested not to leave tributes, objects or candles.” Five bouquets of flowers are delicately placed. They will soon be removed by security.
Liam, in his thirties, lives in Denmark. “I was passing through London during my vacation and it was unthinkable not to come and collect me today,” he says, alongside his brother. Deprived of a public funeral, few Britons went to Buckingham Palace.
A thought for the queen
Some take advantage of the good weather to take a walk. “To be honest, I just came to shop!” laughs 26-year-old Fiona. “I think the monarchy is in dire need of change. When we see that Harry and William cannot walk side by side during the funeral, we say to ourselves, but where are we going? ” Her boyfriend nods and does not hesitate to describe this situation as “ridiculous”, adding that “the monarchy must evolve and live with the times.”
Eva, 17, and Liyema, 16, Londoners of South African origin, came to pay tribute to Prince Philip. “When we come here we have a thought for the queen, we are sad for her today. But the monarchy must be reformed, it must be the image of the country, ”she said, referring to the accusations of racism made by Meghan Markle. “We grew up in a country that has become so multicultural. Will the future generation remain attached to traditions? ” This is the main question facing British youth.
In Green Park, one of the eight royal parks in the capital, adjacent to Buckingham Palace, the green of the lawn fades away under the motley colors of the many young people who meet up with friends. Since March 29, the English have the right to regroup with six outside. At the entrance to the park, a panel with the portrait of Prince Philip invites the population to observe, at 3 pm, a minute of silence.
Amy, 28, a police officer, came there to celebrate her birthday with five girlfriends. “We forgot it was the funeral today, to be honest!” His girlfriend takes another round of prosecco and adds: “We only talk about covid on television, we have had enough.”
But once the “royal” subject is engaged, the six girls engage in a long debate. “I sympathize with members of the royal family,” said Grace, an accountant. I think it’s a very difficult job, the job of a lifetime. They have no freedom, they must do what they are told to do, it must not be funny. ” “I am for Prince Harry!” another said. Have you seen “The Crown”? They have bathed in royalty since their childhood! I understand he’s gone! ”
Indifference of youth
Many young people do not identify with the monarchy. This is the case of Alison, 21, and her friend Naomi. The young man shrugs his shoulders and says simply, “I don’t care about all this.” His girlfriend, sunglasses screwed on the face, zebra outfit, is of the same opinion, except for Meghan Markle. “She’s a lot cooler and a lot more interesting than the rest. She had the courage to leave the royal family. It’s the only one I can identify with. ”
A few meters away, two girls are lounging. They explain having come to Buckingham at 3 p.m., for the national minute of silence. “It was quite a moving moment, people weren’t very many but they really respected the minute’s silence,” explains Jo, 27, before adding: “We are absolutely not royalists, we are came out of curiosity ”, unlike their parents,“ very affected ”by the death of Prince Philip, remained in front of their television. Sarah concludes: “The monarchy is old-fashioned and it will lose a lot of supporters when the Queen passes away. I think that for young people today it is simply a page of history that is being turned. ”