Laying Flowers

The tradition of laying flowers

There is a huge significance in laying flowers after the death of an individual, and has dated back centuries. They hold great sentimental value, and are also a means of expression. At a time of mourning, when it is often too difficult to put feelings into words, they are a thoughtful way of paying respect. Flowers create a background of warmth and beauty in a sad and isolated time. Flowers also help create a more comforting lasting impression to those affected.

As the royal family play a huge part in many people’s lives, it comes with no surprise that the death of a member affects the entire nation, if not the world. When the news was announced that the People’s Princess, Diana was killed in a car crash in 1997, the entire world went into mourning. Officials estimated that around 10 to 15 tonnes of bouquets were left at St. James’s Palace gates, equating to around 60 million individual flowers. It took up to six weeks to remove all of the flowers, where decaying blooms were mulched into fertiliser for the gardens, fresh flowers were taken to local hospitals, and teddy bears were given to children less fortunate.

After the sad news of the death of our Queen, Elizabeth II. It is with no hesitance that the nation will be in public mourning, just like they were with Princess Diana. The Queen was here 65 years ago as a young woman for her Proclamation to the throne. Elizabeth II was the world’s longest running British monarch on 9 September 2015, when she surpassed the reign of her great-great-grandmother Victoria. Elizabeth II also became the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee, commemorating her 65 years on the throne.

Therefore there will be a large area outside the North West end of the Cathedral in College Green, Bristol, for those wishing to leave flowers out of respect. There will be a further two sites left outside the City Hall and in the City Centre. The flowers left at these two further sites will be removed at intervals and taken away to create compost for the City’s gardens.



Do’s and Don’ts for Laying Flowers

  • Please do not lay flowers that are still in their plastic wrapping. This is not bio-degradable and will make the task of turning the flowers into compost for the City’s gardens incredibly difficult.


  • Please do not lay any candles as this is considered a fire hazard. For anyone wishing to light a candle out of respect, there will be the opportunity to do so within the Cathedral. Please see here for more information. Please do not leave anything that may be considered flammable under any circumstances.


  • Please do not bring any teddy bears or any other soft plushes. We need to maintain levels of the highest security for this event and toys are seen as a potential risk of hiding explosive devices within.


  • Anyone wishing to lay floral tributes in memory of The Queen are asked to lay them at the West End of Bristol Cathedral, the side closest to Central Library. If flowers are left in any other public place they may be moved to outside the Cathedral.
  • We ask that only flowers are used to pay your respects as it cannot be guaranteed that other items can be easily reused or recycled.
Flowers Left for Princess Diana
The West End Area of Bristol Cathedral