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The Royal Mourning - Many Mornings of CANCELLED

Edingburgh Castle

So, you may have heard that Queen Elizabeth II passed away rather recently. It has certainly been something to behold; the whole world is talking about her life and her death.

Interpersonally and throughout the media, people have been exploring their feelings and thoughts on the Queen and monarchy, wondering what it means for countries within the Commonwealth as we say goodbye to the longest reigning monarch in the world and get used to singing ‘God Save the King’.

Many are speculating how this seismic event will impact the country as we move into this new era, while others are simply wondering how their lives will be impacted in the more immediate future; will they get Monday off work? Be able to go on their holiday?  Attend their hospital appointments? 

In response to the announcement of the 10-day period of Royal Mourning, came the flood of cancellations, postponements and closures.

The list includes sporting events, theatre, festivals; TV shows, concerts, cinemas; schools, food banks, hospital appointments: - flights, strikes, funerals; shops, public transport, and postal services.

Monday the 19th of September marked the day of Queen’s State Funeral and was regarded as a ‘Bank Holiday’, meaning it was under the judgment of individual companies and businesses to decide whether they observed this, and for what duration, out of the ten days that were dedicated to the mourning period.

The official National Mourning Guide available on the Government website includes that ‘there is no obligation on organisations to suspend business during the National Mourning period’, and ‘this is at the discretion of individual businesses’, though ‘some businesses may wish to consider closing or postponing events, especially on the day of the State Funeral’.

Many took to social media to convey their opinions on this matter – with public figures such as Piers Morgan and Owen Jones tweeting in opposition to the many cancellations.

Center Parcs UK tweeted:

Following the announcement of the date of the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, we have made the decision to close all our UK villages on Monday 19th September as a mark of respect and to allow as many of our colleagues as possible to be a part of this historic movement’, to which Morgan tweeted:

Which is perhaps a fair point.

Some responded to the news of Center Parc’s temporary closure with humour:

Perhaps it was this that deterred the company and led them to quickly reverse their decision in an email sent directly to customers.

Or maybe it was the onslaught of complaints from people who were upset that they would be without somewhere to sleep for a night. 

Other 'U-Turns' also ensued, including Trussell Trust, a trust based in London which supports a nationwide network of food banks. Initially, they announced that they were closing their banks on Monday 19th alongside other foodbanks such as Gateshead Foodbank and County Durham Foodbank, saying they 'have decided to allow our staff and workers the opportunity to show their respects. Their London, Wimbledon branch then deleted the announcement, saying they would remain open after they received a lot of 'support'.

This period has certainly brought people into questioning what the Royal Mourning should connote and how people should mourn. The Royal State Funeral was televised; the cancellations on Monday were implemented in order to allow the general public to be witnesses to the event.

But some think even these day-long cancellations were backward, and that they have been ‘forced’ into mourning by having their beloved events, - or more vital appointments - being cancelled. Others welcomed the period, perceiving it as a mark of respect to Her Majesty the Queen and those mourning her passing, and a well-justified pause in our lives in the wake of her passing.

I asked a few members of the public for their opinions on the closures and how they had impacted them.

“Closing everything down”, Eve Mathews, 24, comments, “only made me feel as though I had been thrust back into lockdown again, which is a very upsetting reminder for myself and for a lot of people. It triggers bad memories of a very difficult period in our lives. It also assumes that we must all mourn, and we all must mourn in the same way – by enveloping ourselves in the passing of the Queen - by not being able to think about anything else. Life has literally stopped. A lot of people who are in mourning right now might grieve differently from the way they have been told to grieve during this mourning period – by watching a comedy show, going out for lunch or to the cinema. This period of closure has stopped all of that.”

David Holland, 57, told me that he welcomed the closures, as it bought him a day to spend with his wife and children to talk about the Queen and celebrate her life, as well as having time to recognise and be grateful for his own family.

“It was a day where we came together, watched the funeral, and then spent the rest of the day being grateful for each other, - and the fact that we weren’t at work!”

A lot of families, however, struggled for childcare in the event of the school closures. While some were still working, it meant that many parents were grappling with a way to navigate the closure.

One parent tweeted 'I'm freelance so won't get a paid day off, I also have to pay for the day my daughter should be in childcare even if it's closed. So, I pay twice. Working class people will be working to keep the country running, so who benefits?'

Good question.

And, apparently, it definitely didn't benefit fans of football. 

In response to a tweet from the Premier League account announcing the postponement of the Premier League match last weekend, one Twitter user wrote ‘Minutes silence, kneeling down and black armbands are enough for the weekend games. Don’t postpone the matches’.

A former employee of Norwich Football club, when asked about their opinion of the postponement of the match, informed me that it “made no sense to cancel the football. Football is an internationally shared form of entertainment, and the Premier League is enjoyed by fans across the world. So, to cancel it seems like we are enforcing our agenda onto the entire world”.

It seems that, interestingly, some club games were cancelled while others were not. One narrative on social media is that some senior officials were worried that disdain or disrespect for the monarchy would be given an enormous platform and that the games that remain postponed are that of clubs that are considered more likely to exhibit sentiments of anti-establishment.

Reports say that the cancellations or postponements were due to the pressures put on the police resources, as a consequence of the huge swathes of people coming together to mourn the Queen.

Brighton’s match against Crystal Palace has remained in a state of postponement after the rail strikes; - which were also postponed. However, the game still did not go ahead.

A Twitter user shared a video of a Liverpool match, where the one-minute silence was cut short due to a few people refusing to honour the silence. The user tweeted: ‘absolutely disgusting behaviour’.

This has brought into question the validity of free speech, and whether the cancellation of these games was a way of silencing any opposition during the period of Royal Mourning – feeding into the pattern of ‘cancel culture – or whether it was indeed the correct thing to do, for safety’s sake, and for the sake of respect.

It is a subject in many people’s minds this week, as arrests by the British Police Force in response to anti-monarchist protesters become more numerous as the days roll on, (several dozen have been arrested ahead of the funeral by the Met Police), alighting the topic of discussion of anti-free speech on social media and making headlines in the news. 

As well as physical protests, opposition towards the monarchy, the funeral, and the monumental attention they have been receiving is prevalent on social media. Many are wondering why people are focusing so heavily on the Queen whilst people all over the country are currently enduring such financial hardship, which the period of cancellations arguably contributed to. A photo of a homeless man sitting beside a large billboard of the Queen circulated social media with the caption 'never seen a picture speak so many words', echoing this sentiment. 

Owen Jones, a British newspaper columnist, tweeted about his concern over the economic struggles due to the cost-of-living crisis, and that the abundance of cancellations is problematic for the financial well-being of people who will suffer further consequently:

This is perpetuated by the Bank of England reporting that it is postponing its Monetary Policy Ctee meeting by 7 days. Wilfred Frost tweeted that he is ‘amazed’ at this announcement:


Services such as doctors and hospital appointments, cancer treatments, surgeries and funerals were also been reported to have been cancelled or rescheduled on the day of the Queen’s Funeral.

Marly McKenna, a mother of a two-year-old with respiratory issues, expresses that she is ‘dismayed’ after her toddler's much anticipated and necessary appointment was cancelled"I understand that she was our head of state, but there are services still needed. Healthcare should be available 24-7, things still need to run.

"This is different from other public sectors," she added.


Some hospitals say they were operating as usual, whilst others have said they postponed non-urgent appointments.

Dr. Shola Mos-Shogbamimu, a Lawyer and Women’s Right’s Activist, expresses on ByLine Tv that in her opinion it is “really insulting to suggest that the Queen’s passing makes all of the real lifetime sufferings of people pale in significance. The cancellations make no sense. I agree that this is a moment of historical importance. But hell no should it dominate news coverage at a time when we should be placing intense scrutiny on the Government.”

Or, you could argue, perhaps we should hold our tongues and accept that an extremely beloved and respected monarch has passed on, and this very brief and temporary interval should be forgiven.

It is true that many people were already willingly putting their lives on halt to stand in the 5-mile-long queue for the Queen’s Lying-In-Stateto say goodbye to Her Majesty.

But the controversy surrounding the cancellations continued.

Henry Mance, who writes for the Financial Times, wrote:

Perhaps his tweet is called for?

At least, after another viral tweet of a bicycle rack in Norwich being out-of-use during this period appeared on my feed, I was inclined to see his point:

All you cyclists in Norwich, you’d better find somewhere else to lock up your bike.  Like one of the shut-up shops, perhaps?

Or a nearby tree?

Oh, but wait;

Trees are also out of order.

Whatever your opinion on the cancellations, and, indeed, the monarchy itself, the funeral was certainly grand and something to behold. The grandeur, the aesthetics, the theatrics of the guard, soldiers and navy – it was a captivating, historical event marking the end of a 70-year reign.

Perhaps you shed a tear as ‘God Save the Queen’ was sung at a slower, more melancholic tempo. Or when the hearse drove through the streets while grief-stricken crowds clapped and threw flowers towards the passing vehicle in testament to Queen Elizabeth II. Or when you realised Prince Louis - (who is known for screaming in public and jabbing his hands into his mother's face) - hadn't been bought along for the occasion. 

Or perhaps you were someone grievously impacted by the cancellations of the last week, and spent the day trying to remedy the repercussions the period of Royal Mourning had on your life.

Ella Rowdon
Ella is a writer, a postgraduate Dramaturgy and Writing for Performance student at Goldsmiths, and a Drama practitioner. Her writing and research topics include sociology and politics. Follow this link for Ella Rowdon's LinkedIn


The Royal Mourning - Many Mornings of CANCELLED Reviewed by Ella Rowdon on Wednesday, September 21, 2022 Rating: 5
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