Crowds flock to Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle to mourn Queen Elizabeth II

Shortly after Queen Elizabeth II's death was announced, large crowds gathered outside of royal residences to mourn. Special correspondent Willem Marx joined Judy Woodruff from Buckingham Palace where a sparkling rainbow appeared after the queen's passing and Malcolm Brabant traveled to Windsor Castle and was there as Britons absorbed the news.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    And this grace note before we move on. This afternoon, shortly after the queen's death was announced, a sparkling rainbow broke out and arced over London and Buckingham Palace.

    And now, from London late in the evening there, I'm joined from just outside the palace by special correspondent Willem Marx.

    So, Willem, tell us about the events of today.

  • Willem Marx:

    Well, Judy, leaving aside the rainbow, we heard at around lunchtime here in the U.K. that Elizabeth's doctors were concerned about her health and placed her under medical supervision.

    Several hours later, Buckingham Palace issued a statement saying that she had passed away peacefully at Balmoral, her Scottish estate. Over the course of the afternoon, all four of her children were either with her or en route to be with her, as were several of her grandchildren.

    And it made it, therefore, slightly compelling to see that they were there at the end of her very long life. Now, here, in the hours before that announcement, there were crowds already gathering. They're still here late into the evening, Judy, many thousands of people, many of the streets nearby closed off by police.

    Every so often, you will hear a rendition of the national anthem start to break out amongst groups of people here, but, of course, the words change from "God Save the Queen," an anthem the British people have known for 70 years now, to "God Save the King," to celebrate the new King, Charles III.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And, Willem, we know that there's much to come in the days ahead. Tell us a little about what the palace has planned.

  • Willem Marx:

    Well, of course, you might imagine, Judy, that the specific details of the funeral have been worked on for many, many years.

    The palace have not quite released the timetable around that, but, because she's passed away in Scotland, her body will be taken from Balmoral about 40 miles west of the city of Aberdeen to the capital there, Edinburgh. There will be a service of some kind in the main cathedral there, St. Giles, before the body has taken by a special train service all the way south back down to London.

    One imagines there will be thousands of mourners lining the track of major station crossings throughout the course of that journey. And when she arrives back here in Buckingham Palace, she will once again lie in state in the throne room in the building behind me, guarded by four members of a British Army regiment, the Grenadier Guards.

    Following that, there will be a funeral. We don't yet know the exact date. And, of course, there will be a formal proclamation that King — because Charles is now the king. And I should say that, across the nation, there will be tolling of bells. Many of the masts like the one behind me will be flying half-mast, many of the flags, for many days.

    There will be 10 days of national mourning, a month of mourning, in the court, members of the royal family and their staff wearing black armbands. The royal palace is closed and many other businesses here facing a national public holiday.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Well, clearly, so much tradition, but such a personal outpouring, it's just — it's just a tremendous tribute to see.

    Willem Marx, joining us tonight from outside Buckingham Palace.

    Thank you, Willem.

    And we know one of the queen's favorite homes was Windsor Castle north of London.

    Malcolm Brabant was there tonight as Britons absorbed the news of the queen's passing. He sent us this dispatch.

  • Malcolm Brabant:

    We came to the statue of another great queen, Victoria, to pay tribute to the longest-serving monarch in British history and to mark the end of this Elizabethan era.

  • Person:

    And we just wanted to thank the queen for her reign and everything she's done for the country and the world. And we wanted to come tonight to pay our respects.

  • Person:

    She devoted her whole life to our country, her people and the commonwealth. And there will never be another queen like her.

  • Person:

    No.

  • Malcolm Brabant:

    How emotional are you about this?

  • Person:

    Very, yes.

  • Person:

    It was such a shock; 48 hours ago, she welcomed our new prime minister, and now she's gone.

  • Person:

    Yes.

  • Person:

    And it'll never be the same.

  • Person:

    No. No.

  • Malcolm Brabant:

    Late into the evening, people streamed into Windsor to experience a unique moment and to reflect on the queen's achievements.

  • Person:

    So, it's as if the rug has been pulled out from underneath us as a country. The queen has been there through all difficult moments. We have celebrated with her. We have mourned with her. And she just epitomizes what the British culture is about, really.

    She's just — she's just got on with things. She has been a great support to everybody. And we, the U.K. and the world, have just lost a fabulous, wonderful lady.

  • Malcolm Brabant:

    The mood was somber as Britons came to terms with the changing of the guard.

  • Person:

    Well, I'm 72. I have never really known life without the queen. I thought she served the country well. She was somebody to be admired, somebody to be followed, and an example to us all. She will be greatly missed. And I hope the future in Charles' hands will be secure.

  • Malcolm Brabant:

    This country is now entering uncharted territory. For the past 70 years, the queen has been respected as a symbol of unity and stability.

    But Prince Charles, now King Charles, is a completely different character. He is seen by some as being a divisive figure, and he has a hugely difficult task ahead of him to unite the country during a very troublesome time.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," this is Malcolm Brabant in Windsor.

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