From our special correspondent in London,
She runs, she runs, the rumor… This Friday afternoon, along The Mall, this royal alley lined with trees and British flags, which connects Buckingham Palace to trafalgar square, rumor has it that a royal outing is about to take place. It is even whispered that this crowned head would not be a distant first cousin of Queen Elizabeth. No.
Rumor has it that the King Charles III would be back from Wales and would be treading, in the coming minutes, from the back of his burgundy-colored Rolls-Royce, the processional avenue. It didn’t take much more than a hundred onlookers, and a special correspondent from 20 minutes, do the crane foot. Gossip report.
Wednesday, the coffin of the Queen Elizabeth II left Buckingham Palace, to join, during a procession, Westminster Hall. This last road solemn, followed by tens of thousands of people on the spot and on television, followed a route all mapped out and available directly from the site of the british government. A bit like a map of the two parks at Disneyland Paris.
Around 4 p.m., then on the last meters of what is officially called here the “Lying-in-State procession”, a few silhouettes slowly begin to pile up as close as possible to the barriers which adjoin Buckingham Palace. In total, about fifty onlookers are placed on each side of the palisades which mark out the alley of The Mall.
“It seems that King Charles III will be leaving Buckingham in a few minutes,” says Olivia, in her fifties, obviously knowledgeable about royal habits and customs. No official announcement, no fellow journalists on site, not even a single tweet from Camilla Parker Bowles, but how did Olivia get this info? “Two helicopters have been circling for more than half an hour above the area and the police officers seem agitated”, she explains to us. The rumor is launched.
Between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., onlookers after onlookers, the crowd thickens around us. “Excuse me, but what exactly are you waiting for?” asks a mother and her daughter to Olivia. “The King”, replies tit for tat our detective. The rumor is gone, certainty has taken its place and after more than an hour of waiting, a long queue has formed on each side of the royal aisle.
Hopes and Miracles
The problem is that after 5:30 p.m., we saw an armada of vehicles go by, in one direction or the other, which all startled Olivia moreover, but no trace of King Charles III. Groups of police officers on motorbikes, utilities for maintenance of the palace’s green spaces, van of the “Royal Mail Post Office”… All passed before our eyes full of hope and all took a part of him with them. Finally, for Olivia! “I don’t know exactly how long I’ve been here, I can’t see the time passing, but I really believe he’s going to come out”.
Around 6 p.m., we lose a man. Arrived a few minutes after us, Bryan also trusted the rumor. But there, he cracks: “Are you sure he is coming? ! (Are you sure he’s coming?!). Understand, “Am I really hanging around in the cold to say hi to the palace groundskeepers? ! “. The rumor is no longer enough, the young man loses patience.
It must be said that we understand Bryan. It’s still a long time to wait several hours, stuck behind a barrier, that the king deigns to pass, at top speed, surely hidden by tinted windows. Especially since we have just learned from a journalist colleague that he would always be on the side of Wales rather than central London. We can’t tell Olivia, we don’t have the heart to break hers, so we stay. And there, the miracle.
Not a van, not a tractor, not a utility, but indeed a Bentley, a real one. Surrounded by an armada of police on motorcycles and all flashing lights out, there is no doubt that a crowned head is finally making its way down the aisle of The Mall. But who ? Who has just gone to top speed hidden by tinted windows? “It seems that this is the princess anne “Olivia comes out of us straight away. Finally, it is the rumor which says it.