Royal Town falls silent as world says goodbye to Queen Elizabeth

TUNBRIDGE Wells fell silent on Monday as Her Majesty The Queen was finally laid to rest.

The streets of the Royal Town were deserted as the clock struck 11am – the time when The Queen’s State funeral began.

Banks and official buildings, including The Amelia, were closed, as normal for a bank holiday, but unusually, shops and restaurants were also shut, as were Trinity Theatre and the Assembly Hall.

Buses were running but few people had ventured into town on Monday morning as the streets remained quiet.

At St James’ Church in Ferndale, the bell was tolling to draw people in to the building where three screens had been set up to stream the royal funeral.

Vicar The Rev. Judi Hammill said the church had decided to open to allow people to come in and spend the service together.

“We were open anyway – we are open every day,” she said.

The congregation also gathered afterwards, as with a normal funeral, to share memories. The church has also opened a book of memories.


“Those are the moments that stand out, her bright colours and the aura around her.



Residents from Tunbridge Wells were among the estimated 250,000 people who queued to see The Queen lying in state over the last few days.

People braved a 12-hour wait on the banks of the Thames to catch a glimpse of the Queen’s coffin as she lay in state in Westminster Hall ahead of her funeral on Monday.

Among the mourners was Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes.

The 52-year-old from Hildenborough said she felt compelled to come to London to pay her respects to Queen Elizabeth II.

She told reporters: “In my head I was like ‘I have to join this queue’ so I stopped all my plans for this weekend and here I am,” she said.

“I got my damehood from The Queen in 2005 for services to sport so that will always hold good memories.

“But the ones which really stand out are the ones that are really informal – at races where I break protocol and say to The Queen ‘you look lovely ma’am’ and she says ‘thank you Dame Kelly’.

“I have been watching the live feed and I was just overwhelmed. People are feeling this warmth, connecting with this moment, and for me yes it will be a sombre occasion [but] it makes me happy I am here in this queue,” Dame Kelly added.

Gina Carver, 60, from Tunbridge Wells also queued last week.

She said: “To give up my day queuing is nothing compared to what she’s done for 70 years – and she does feel like our grandmother.

“She was the face of reason, you always think things are going to be alright if she says it’s alright.”

Meanwhile Carole Everett, who travelled on her own from Tunbridge Wells, described The Queen as ‘a very special lady’.

“There’s so many qualities about her,” she told reporters from her spot on the South Bank. “Her values, how she’s conducted herself. She’s just given everything to the country.”

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