When will floral tributes to the Queen be removed, and what happens to mourners' cards?

Thousands of people have paid their respects to the Queen by leaving flowers in London's Hyde Park. Credit: PA

Thousands of mourners have poured into two of London's Royal Parks to leave flowers and touching handwritten notes, in tribute to the Queen.

So many people came to leave floral tributes in Green Park in the days since Her Majesty died, a second designated memorial site had to be opened at Hyde Park last Tuesday.

The Royal Parks asked mourners to stop leaving Paddington Bear toys and marmalade sandwiches "in the interests of sustainability" and to instead stick to organic or compostable material.

Tens of thousands of people spilled into Hyde Park today as the Queen's funeral was held, some crying and throwing flowers as they watched the historic moment on the big screens.

Well-wishers leave floral tributes in honour of Queen Elizabeth II in Green Park. Credit: Beresford Hodge/PA

In the aftermath of the Queen's death, flowers and other tributes were left outside Buckingham Palace, along the Mall and other locations.

But Royal Parks says it has "sensitively moved" tributes left in undesignated locations at the end of each day to its own official memorial sites.

How long will flowers for the Queen be left in Green Park and Hyde Park?

Royal Parks says tributes will be left on site until "all ceremonial activity has taken place," the last of which will be today.

It is expected that all floral tributes will be removed from park areas during a period from seven to 14 days after the Queen's funeral.

The charity says it will monitor tributes throughout, and any that have deteriorated will be taken to Hyde Park nursery for processing to prepare them for composting.

What will happen to the floral tributes afterwards?

Labels and cards will be separated from flowers and stored, Royal Parks says.

Once floral tributes are removed, they will be taken to the Hyde Park nursery for processing to remove any remaining packaging, cards and labels and to separate plant material for composting in nearby Kensington Gardens.

Members of the public view floral tributes in Hyde Park in London Credit: Danny Lawson/PA

This organic composted material will be used on shrubberies and landscaping projects across the Royal Parks.

What about elsewhere in the country?

Government guidance issued for councils and places of worship advises that floral tributes should be removed from tomorrow by 9am.

A woman cries in London's Hyde Park as thousands of mourners leave tributes to the Queen. Credit: PA

However tributes left outside Royal properties are expected to remain for longer, as the Royal Family's mourning period will go on for another seven days after the funeral.

Local councils should be consulted about an appropriate site and the planning for disposals or wider post-event arrangements as required, the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities adds.

The Queen's final journey from Buckingham Palace in our latest podcast episode

The clean-up operation has begun after hundreds of thousands of people flocked to London for the Queen’s lying in state and funeral.

In Westminster, street cleansing vehicles have been dressed in black ribbons and council workers have worn black bows as teams swung into action to clean up litter and remove sand that had been spread on roads.

And in Southwark, where the queue for the Queen’s lying in state in Westminster Hall began miles away in Southwark Park, council officials said they had completed a full inspection of the line’s route through the borough and cleared any litter.

Southwark Council said that, after a brief pause for the funeral, staff would continue to work with government officials and the events company involved “to make sure that Southwark Park in particular is fully open and returned to its former splendour”.

In Southwark Park alone, many staff worked 24 extra hours over the four days of the lying in state to keep the green space clean, the council said.

An estimated seven tons of additional litter was gathered and removed over the same period.

The Earl of Wessex viewing tributes outside Windsor Castle. Credit: James Manning/PA

Catherine Rose, cabinet member for parks, streets and clean air at the council, said: “Southwark has been proud, on behalf of its residents and local government as a whole, to play its role during this historic time in our nation’s history.

“We’ve carried out extra street cleansing and waste collections to keep the queue clean and tidy, and ensure all mourners had a safe and pleasant experience.”

She added: “We know that for thousands of mourners, their memory of Southwark Park is the starting point to their personal journeys of reflection and paying their respects.

“We welcome them to return at any point in the future.”

Westminster City Council said it had deployed additional teams to ensure the areas affected by the funeral were kept clean and presentable and to return central London to normal following a period of mourning.

As a mark of respect, vehicles have been dressed in black ribbons and council workers have worn black bows while on duty, the council said.

A council spokesperson said: “Westminster City Council is well equipped to deal with the city at full capacity. Preparations have been in place to handle the influx of visitors wishing to pay their respects to Her Majesty the Queen.

“Our cleansing teams have been working incredibly hard to ensure that our city remains a clean environment for all.

“We will continue to work with partners to ensure that cleansing operations run as smoothly as possible, making visitors and residents feel comfortable.”