Queen Elizabeth II's funeral: florists and souvenir shops make brisk business

·Finance Reporter, Yahoo Finance UK
·5 min read
Flowers are laid on Belfast's Shankill Road, Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday. (Brian Lawless/PA via AP)
Flowers are laid on Belfast's Shankill Road following the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA via AP

Flower shops around Buckingham Palace have sold out of roses and lilies as crowds travel to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II.

A constant stream of thousands of people placed flowers, cards and stuffed animals at venues from Balmoral to Buckingham Palace as the country pays tribute to the late Queen.

Mourners have left tributes including teddy bears, Corgi soft toys, balloons, knitted versions of the late monarch and her friend Paddington Bear and, in one case, a marmalade sandwich, which was left at Balmoral in Scotland.

A message on the ziplock bag read: “A marmalade sandwich for your journey ma’am”.

A tribute with Paddington Bear is seen outside Holyrood Palace, following the death of Britain's Queen Elizabeth, in Edinburgh, Scotland, Britain September 12, 2022. REUTERS/Carl Recine
A tribute with Paddington Bear is seen outside Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, Scotland, following the death of Britain's Queen Elizabeth. Photo: Carl Recine/Reuters

Sunflowers have been one of the most common tributes left at Buckingham Palace, Windsor and Balmoral.

People could be seen pausing to bend down and read messages that have been left among the piles of blooms laid by trees and railings, many reading: “We will miss you” and “Thank you for your service”.

While some customers bought a stem for £10, others spent up to £100 on bouquets for the Queen.

The manager of a souvenir shop near Buckingham Palace said the number of customers buying memorabilia doubled overnight following the Queen's death.

Cool Britannia's manager, Ismial Ibrahim, described suppliers working overtime and scores of people coming through the shop each day.

Read more: Coins, stamps and passports: what changes now that Charles is King?

"Since that evening, we have had a huge flow of people. The footfall has gone really high and since then people have started asking about anything to do with the Queen," Ibrahim said.

Over the weekend there has been a rush from people around the world to buy souvenirs — from mugs to dolls, newspapers, coins, jewellery and even teabags — as manufacturers phase out items with the Queen’s likeness to make room for ones of her son King Charles III.

Cool Britannia has already ordered King Charles III merchandise, which should arrive later this week, although sellers do not expect these to be as popular.

Ibrahim said the shop only had around 50 customers a day following the end of the school holidays, but that figure has doubled since Thursday.

Royal merchandise in the Cool Britannia souvenir shop near Buckingham Palace. Picture date: Sunday September 11, 2022.
Royal merchandise in the Cool Britannia souvenir shop near Buckingham Palace. Photo: PA

He added: “Until midnight there were people flowing to the shop asking for anything they can buy with a picture of the Queen on.”

Demand for memorabilia meant suppliers were working extra hours to print memorial T-shirts and sweatshirts, which had to be picked up to get them to the shop fast enough.

The official Buckingham Palace shop has closed following the death of the Queen.

Her funeral, which is due to be held on 19 September, "should have an impact on the tourism sector and the souvenir industry", according to Mirabaud analyst John Plassard.

"The royal family, which regularly features on the front pages of newspapers, is an object of constant fascination, including well beyond the kingdom's borders.

"Souvenir sales are expected to rise by £60m ($70m) as a result of the funeral," he added.

For the Queen’s recent Platinum Jubilee celebration, the Centre for Retail Research found that spending on souvenirs, memorabilia and gifts reached over £281m.

Elsewhere, online marketplaces such as Etsy and (ETSY) eBay (EBAY) are already awash with stationery, mugs, fridge magnets and T-shirts featuring the Queen’s image and the year of her death.

Read more: Queen's death mourned by the City

On Ebay, a copy of The Times newspaper from Friday, the day after the news of her death was announced, is listed with a “buy it now” price of £80. A copy of the Telegraph from the same day is currently going for £50. A copy of Friday’s Financial Times could set you back £99.

Halfway across the world, Australia’s travel industry says it is bracing for an “influx” of Australians deciding to travel to London to attend Queen Elizabeth’s funeral.

Local media reported royalists can expect to pay close to double for airfares. Even when broadening fare searches to include all airlines, those departing from Australia will be hard-pressed finding return economy seats for less than $4000, according to David Goldman, joint managing director at travel company Goldman Group in Bondi Junction.

The Queen’s funeral is expected to trigger a spike in London hotel bookings, as mourners from around the world flock to the capital. Hotel rates in London have already jumped by up to 25%.

A boy places flowers, following the death of Britain's Queen Elizabeth, in London, Britain September 11, 2022. REUTERS/Marko Djurica
A boy places flowers, following the death of Britain's Queen Elizabeth, in London 11 September 2022. Photo: Marko Djurica/Reuters

The Royal Parks said cards and labels are permitted, and would later be "separated from flowers and stored".

"Unfortunately, no gifts and artefacts will be accepted, and the public will be asked not to bring these to the parks," it added.

"Non-floral objects/artefacts such as teddy bears or balloons should not be brought."

The Queen's state funeral will be held on Monday 19 September.

Watch: Mourners leave personal touches for the Queen at London memorial site