A sombre sea of flowers, dogs and selfie sticks stretched from the gates of Buckingham Palace to the nearest London underground station as the British public paid their respects to the Queen.
Never before outside of a two minutes silence, have I seen so many people make so little noise as the morning after the monarch's death aged 96.
As I exited the Jubilee Line at Green Park underground station I was confronted immediately with a tearful woman desperately trying to hold back the waterworks as she headed onwards with her day.
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It was an eerie feeling but walking through the park to the Palace as part of a constant stream of people armed with a bouquet of flowers in one hand and an umbrella in the other.
A double rainbow may have broken out at as the late monarch's death was announced yesterday evening (Thursday, September 8), but only miserable grey clouds were lingering over the Palace the following morning.
'Sombre' was the word that mourners kept using to describe the atmosphere as thousands flocked to pay their respects by queueing up to lay flowers, each with a touching note on what Elizabeth II meant to them.
Multiple languages were spoken in hushed tones as friends, family and strangers shared their memories of Britain's longest-serving monarch with one another.
For all the respect shown from young and old, curious tourists waving around selfie sticks were an inevitability as they looked to capture their own 'we were there' moment with beaming smiles.
I caught up with an emotional June G, 67, who had travelled west from Stamford Hill, north London to offer a particular flower freshly picked from her garden, accompanied by sage.
June said: "I picked the last two roses that survived the rain last night and I've got some lavender which reminded me of Norfolk which is where one of her homes are. I actually picked some sage because of her wisdom, and I picked some rosemary as well just for remembrance.
"These are not all middle aged ladies with families and grandmothers with lots of souvenirs, these are real people that have genuinely got some sort of connection and it's just amazing really to see it. It makes me feel better that I can see that and it's not just a normal day for a lot of people.
Proving her point was student Henry Mills, 21, who joined mourners on his own accord. Henry said: "I think it's just such a momentous occasion, someone that's been in charge of the country for 70 years, for the lives of the majority of the public. I'm just a student in London at the moment but I feel like it's right to pay my respects.
"It's definitely a very sombre atmosphere which is I suppose the right atmosphere for it to be and it's quite nice that everyone's in the same boat and paying respects as well.
Professor Chris Imafidon met the Queen at least nine times and even penned the book '19 Things You Didn't Know About The Queen'. He was keen to tell me how inspiring and maternal she was to the school kids he introduced to her via a charity.
Prof Chris said: "She transformed their lives in ways that even she could not imagine."
Chris whose daughter was awarded an MBE by Her Majesty added: "It's difficult to use past tense, I kept hoping she can pull through. It was Prince Philip, if he was here he would have spoken words to encourage her.
"I thought it was a joke, I thought it was a practical joke oh the media but when I saw the Prime Minister I knew it was not a joke. I was like 'wow, really?' I'm not going to see her again?'
"We've got to celebrate her, really. I don't think we celebrated her enough. Okay we had the Jubilee and she doesn't like people saying great things about her."
The Queen is also the reason why Chris is still working aged 63 as she laughed off him getting too old.
The Queen's global impact was evidenced by the range of accents quietly spoken yards from the gates to the capital's royal residence.
One such conversation I walked past was between an aunt and niece from Texas, US, who described the timing of their visit to the UK as a "sad coincidence".
Beverley and Stephanie said: "We loved the Queen a lot, all of the United States loved her. She actually came to Texas not too long ago. She was an amazing woman. It's a terrible coincidence. I was also here for 9/11 and I didn't realise that until it was pointed out to me by two people.
"It's a historic moment for us to silently give thanks to what she's done for women, England and the world."
Leave your tributes and light a virtual candle for Queen in our online book of condolence
Capitalising on the hordes of people eager to lend a gesture of their very own, was a double act team cashing in on the demand for flowers.
At £20 a pop it looked to be a business plan worthy of Lord Alan Sugar's approval, albeit 0% of profits will go to the charity Mind, according to the student seller.
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Breaking up the solemn united spirit of the devastated and curious was a sudden order bellowed from horseback, followed by the sound of hooves on tarmac which rippled through the trees of Green Park.
As a military parade of gold helmet-wearing guards cut through the dozens of people loitering on the closed road around the Palace, the mood escalated into one if excitement for just a few minutes.
It served as a reminder that the cogs of Great Britain's sovereign machine will keep on turning.
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