Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

‘She loved the culture here’: Floral tributes left at the gates of Balmoral following the Queen’s death

Flowers have been left at the gates of Balmoral. Picture by Wullie Marr/DC Thomson.
Flowers have been left at the gates of Balmoral. Picture by Wullie Marr/DC Thomson.

Floral tributes have been piling up at the gates of Balmoral as people flock to pay their respects to Her Majesty The Queen.

Britain’s longest reigning monarch died at her Deeside home on Thursday afternoon, with mourners turning out within hours to pay their respects.

Expecting thousands more to head to Balmoral in the coming days, Aberdeenshire Council has set up a park and ride service to ease the stream of visitors.

Books of condolences have been opened across the north and north-east and designated areas for people to lay flowers for Her Majesty have been specified.

People from all over the country paid their respects at Balmoral and spoke about what the Queen meant to them.

‘She could make you laugh’

Darren Lawrie, 48, was previously a royal guard at Balmoral who used to go out shooting with the family and shared that the late Duke of Edinburgh had the best shot.

He said: “Balmoral was their favourite place because there was no media. She came up her to die, definitely.

“She was our boss. The Queen always had an eye for detail. She never picked up on any mistakes from me but when you are on parade you had to be switched on as she knows what to look for, especially in horse guard parade.”

Michael McNamara, Darren Lawrie and Andrew Christie at Balmoral on Friday. Picture by Wullie Marr/DC Thomson.

Today, he was joined by Andrew Christie, from the Highlanders, and Michael McNamara, from the Gordon Highlanders.

Mr Christie, 40, said the Queen used to come to balls and dance with the soldiers at the Scottish estate.

“We have friends that have danced with the Queen,” he said. “The bond with the forces and the royals go hand in hand.

“The Queen was very witty – she could make you laugh.”

Mr McNamara, 73, spoke of his time working at the Gordon Highlanders Museum where he met the new King a number of times.

He added: “He had a fantastic memory and would always remember your name and face.”

‘A bright symbol of the country’

Andriy Barkov, 51, has been living in the north-east since May after leaving his home country of Ukraine.

He has been staying with Jacob Campbell, secretary of Aberdeen Central Labour, who he made the journey to Balmoral with today.

Andriy Barkov at Balmoral. Picture by Jacob Campbell.

Mr Barkov said: “I feel like a very lucky man to be in Scotland. There are wonderful, friendly people. Full of old traditions.

“The Queen I am very sympathetic towards. I don’t know much about the family, I just know that the whole world knows. The Royal Family are a bright symbol of the entire country.

“I never felt I would be able to visit Balmoral. I am sorry to be here on such a sad day.”

Mr Campbell added: “When her death was announced yesterday, he turned to me and said ‘sorry for your loss’.

“It’s history happening and you never really see it up here in the north-east.”

A ‘fundamental shift’

Fraser McInnes, 42, felt his family had a link to the Royals as his mum works as a tour guide at Dumfries House, which is owned by King Charles III’s Prince’s Foundation.

Mr McInnes travelled from Dunfermline as he felt it was something he should do.

“I dropped off some flowers earlier on just to pay respects. I came from Dunfermline this morning, it’s one of those things you just randomly feel like you have to do, you know?”, he said.

“Just to pay respect and show respect obviously with the change to the King – it’s just a fundamental shift. It’s very sad.”

Mourners have been visiting Balmoral to pay their respects to the Queen. Photo: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson

Personal connection for Crathie Kirk fiddler

Fiddler Paul Anderson had a more personal connection with the Queen. He plays at Crathie Kirk and reckons he played for Her Majesty around three times this year.

“She did love Scottish music, she did love Scottish country dancing, she loved the culture here,” he said.

“She could turn on a Doric dialect very convincingly if that’s what a situation required – that’s what some of the old local boys felt comfortable speaking, and she could turn it on very easy.

“That was all about putting folk at ease so she had a keen sense of occasion and what was required at any given moment. It’s the end of an era, absolutely for sure.”

Fiddle player Paul Anderson and Shona Donaldson. Picture by Kami Thomson / DC Thomson

Christine Cairns, 60, also felt a connection with the Queen, but as a leader.

At the Balmoral gates, she said: “I’m here showing my respects for the death of the queen. I’ve been up to the church to pray.

“I live in Stonehaven, but I was staying over here so I wanted to get up for the family.

“She meant a lot to everybody, well to my family anyway, it feels as though we’ve lost the leader of the pack. It’s very sad.”

Christine Cairns with dog Prince at Balmoral.

Overcome with emotion

Lisa Bell’s husband serves in the Royal Navy, so the family felt it was important to pay their respects to his “boss”, the Queen.

The 52-year-old said: “We’ve been on the NC500 for a week and our last stop was Aviemore and we just felt it was so close. My husband’s serving in the Royal Navy still so we just thought we had to come.

“We couldn’t pass this opportunity for such a wonderful woman, and my husbands boss basically.

Laying flowers at Balmoral. Picture by Kami Thomson.

Mrs Bell was shocked by how emotional she felt: “She’s fabulous – I think she’s been like everybody’s mother and grandmother and I never thought I’d get this emotional.”

Beverley Stainton from Aberdeen and her young daughter Sally also laid flowers.

Ms Stainton said it was a “particularly poignant” day for her as she recently became a British citizen.

“We just really wanted to show our respect for the queen and just recognise the beautiful life that she lived and the service that she did to the country,” she added.

“Also just to share our love and condolence with the family and recognise it’s a really sad time for them too.

“We’re originally from South Africa, but we’ve been over for a fair time now it is home for us. I feel we’re really blessed to be here.”

‘A sad sad time’

The people of Braemar have always felt close to Her Majesty, with many locals having a personal story about meeting the royals as they relaxed in the surroundings of the Cairngorms.

David McHardy, from the village, said as he visited Balmoral that it was a “sad sad time”.

David McHardy and Sunee McHardy going to pay their respects. Picture by Kami Thomson / DC Thomson

“We left some flowers at the gate there. It’s a sad sad time for everybody, we thought we’d pay our last respects,” he added.

“It’s a big shock for the community and she was very well loved and liked up here – it’s not going to be the same.”

Also speaking about Her Majesty’s connection to the north-east, Julie Preston from Aboyne said: “I think the community’s going to feel it deeply, because she had such a strong affection for Balmoral and this part of Scotland in general.

Julie Preston at Balmoral.

“It was always lovely to see her come up here in the summer months. We’d always pop over and hope to see her on the grounds but we never did.

“She was just a normal lady, and it’s very difficult.”