"To be able to say a last goodbye to The Queen was amazing"

A Horncastle royalist has described her trip to London during The Queen's funeral.

The funeral procession goes past the South Carriage Drive area of Hyde Park on the way to Westminster Abbey.
The funeral procession goes past the South Carriage Drive area of Hyde Park on the way to Westminster Abbey.

Sharron Tonge, Wolds Wildlife Park’s events and cafe manager, headed down to London on Monday to be in the capital for The Queen’s funeral.

She said she was devastated when Queen Elizabeth died on Thursday September 8:

"I feel like it’s the end of a traditional way of life,” she explained, “I love the pomp and ceremony and the traditional way of doing things, and I feel it’s now the end of an era.

Sharron Tonge in London for The Queen's funeral.

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"The Queen devoted her whole life to her country and she was still working right up until she died – that was such dedication.

"When she took the throne, she said she would serve and she has most definitely kept those words."

Getting a train to arrive in London early on Monday morning, Sharron said the atmosphere in the capital was quite sombre and after she got off the London Underground at Green Park, saw the sheer volume of people there:

"Every time you turned around, you seemed to see another thousand people,” she said, “But everyone was in good spirits and were all quite sad.”

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The crowds gathering in London.

Sharron recalled the crowds being kept in one place as a number of vehicles with blacked-out windows went past, thought to be dignitaries from the USA.

In order to get into the South Carriage Drive holding area of Hyde Park, the crowds were directed through Hyde Park itself and then back in another entrance.

Sharron is also a singer who performs as her alter-ego Sharna, and is known on the entertainment circuit as “Her Majesty” because she loves The Queen so much – to the extent that she would always make the crowds sing God Save The Queen at the end of each show.

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The funeral was screened in Hyde Park for the crowds, and recalled the crowds observing the two minutes silence after the funeral service impeccably, “you could have heard a pin drop,” and then God Save The King was sung by the crowds – to which Sharron joined in with gusto.

The horses returning from the Queen's funeral procession.

"I don’t regret coming down to London for a second,” she said, “It was something really special and I would have loved to have been along The Mall for the procession, but unless I’dve stayed overnight [Sunday] night, you wouldn’t stand a chance.”

She said she wouldn’t change a thing about her experience though: “There were people from all walks of life and different cultures all smiling at each other and coming together, and to have been a part of that and to know I was able to say a last goodbye to The Queen was amazing.”

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After the procession had left Westminster Abbey, the crowds started to leave and Sharron was able to get a place in the front row at South Carriage Drive and saw the horses returning.

Sharron’s love for The Queen also saw her and her family make a pilgrimage to The Royal Family’s Sandringham Estate on Christmas Day every year, something she says they may do again this Christmas to pay tribute to the late Queen.

The Queen's funeral procession returning.
The funeral procession goes past the South Carriage Drive area of Hyde Park on the way to Westminster Abbey.