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A young girl was among those leaving flowers outside Windsor Castle this morning, following the Queen's death at the age of 96.
Copyright  REUTERS/John Sibley

In pictures: Balmoral, Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle fill with flowers after Queen’s death

By Lottie Limb

Queen Elizabeth’s death has prompted an outpouring of grief in the UK, where many mourners have gathered to pay their respects at the royal palaces.

Famous British landmarks like Buckingham Palace and Balmoral Castle - where Her Majesty passed away yesterday afternoon - have become focal points for the public. However, those that are usually open to tourists are now closed until after the Queen’s funeral.

Around the world, mourners have gathered at churches and British embassies to mark the death of the UK’s longest-serving monarch of 70 years, and figurehead of the Commonwealth.

Around 30 million tourists visit London every year, though this number has dropped since the outbreak of COVID. Many visit to explore the royal topography that makes up the capital - from Kensington Palace to the Tower of London.

For sightseers, a simple ‘No Guard Changing Ceremony’ sign outside Buckingham Palace yesterday indicated the severity of the Queen’s illness aged 96.

Having died in Scotland, plans known as ‘Operation Unicorn’ are now in motion. The Queen’s body will be taken from Balmoral in Aberdeenshire to her smallest Palace of Holyroodhouse, the royals’ official residence in Edinburgh.

There will be a procession up the Royal Mile to St Giles’s Cathedral, where her coffin will lie in state for 24 hours before being transported to Westminster Hall.

Under Operation Unicorn plans, this journey was initially planned by train - allowing people to pay their respects at level crossings and station platforms down the east coast mainline, with another train following behind to collect flowers from the tracks.

But the route described as “very complicated” by transport officials to the Guardian newspaper in 2017 may now happen by plane.

HENRY NICHOLLS/REUTERS
Buckingham Palace became an immediate site of mourning after the Queen's death was announced yesterday afternoon.HENRY NICHOLLS/REUTERS
LEE SMITH/REUTERS
An announcement was posted outside Holyroodhouse yesterday. "The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon," it reads.LEE SMITH/REUTERS
HANNAH MCKAY/REUTERS
Some have travelled to the entrance of Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire, which was widely believed to be the Queen's favourite residenceHANNAH MCKAY/REUTERS
JOHN SIBLEY/REUTERS
Mourners young and old left floral tributes outside Buckingham Palace.JOHN SIBLEY/REUTERS
TOBY MELVILLE/REUTERS
A policeman sheds a tear outside the gates of Buckingham Palace this morning.TOBY MELVILLE/REUTERS
JOHN SIBLEY/REUTERS
Some people also brought their pets along to Buckingham Palace. The Queen's love of dogs, and corgis in particular, is well documented.JOHN SIBLEY/REUTERS
Richard Washbrooke/News Images
A notice informed visitors that flowers are being removed after 12 hours and placed in a special tribute area in nearby Green Park.Richard Washbrooke/News Images
PETER NICHOLLS/REUTERS
Windsor Castle's wardens stand in front of the entrance to the castle, where hundreds of floral tributes have also been left.PETER NICHOLLS/REUTERS
Frank Augstein/AP
People left heartfelt notes at Windsor Castle, the Queen's main residence since 2011.Frank Augstein/AP
CLODAGH KILCOYNE/REUTERS
Hillsborough Castle, the Queen's official residence while in Northern Ireland, also attracted mourners last night.CLODAGH KILCOYNE/REUTERS
Yui Mok/PA
From Northern Ireland to London, the rain did not deter people from turning out in large number to honour the Queen.Yui Mok/PA
JOHN SIBLEY/REUTERS
At tube and bus stops across London - such as this one outside Westminster Abbey - digital advertising boards switched to portraits of Queen Elizabeth II.JOHN SIBLEY/REUTERS
Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP
King Charles III entered Buckingham Palace after shaking hands with numerous members of the public.Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

Having spent the night at Balmoral, King Charles III and Camilla, the Queen Consort, flew from London to Aberdeen today. The new, 73-year-old monarch took time to greet mourners and well-wishers outside Buckingham Palace.