The significance of the floral arrangement on top of HM Queen Elizabeth II‘s coffin has been revealed, as well as the words written on the “loving” note placed in the centre.
The nation bid a final farewell to our longest-reigning monarch at a State Funeral today.
Around 2,000 guests attended the official service at Westminster Abbey, including world leaders representing nearly 200 countries and territories, 500 foreign dignitaries – such as politicians, civil servants, and some celebrities – and many ordinary members of the public selected for charitable or community works.
Tens of thousands of mourners also travelled to London and Windsor for the State Funeral and burial service, and many more were seen gathering at different hubs across the UK to watch the historic event in real-time.
Queen Elizabeth II’s children – including the newly-ascended King Charles III and Queen Consort – were in attendance, as were her grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and other extended family members.
The service concluded with a two-minute silence observed by the nation.
Now, it has been revealed why the floral arrangement placed on top of the Queen’s coffin is so significant and sentimental to her and the Royal Family, as well as what the message written on the card placed within the flowers reads.
The millions of people watching the State Funeral broadcast live will have seen the colourful wreath of flowers siting on top of Her Majesty’s coffin, along with the Royal Standard flag, and the Queen’s crown, orb and sceptre.
The wreath was made completely sustainably, upon King Charles III’s request.
The Royal Family has revealed that, also upon the King’s request, the floral wreath includes myrtle flowers which have been grown from a sprig of the Queen’s wedding bouquet when she married Prince Philip The Duke of Edinburgh back in 1947.
The wreath also features foliage of rosemary, which is an ancient symbol of remembrance, and English Oak, which is a national symbol of strength.
Flowers cut from the gardens of the Balmoral estate – the Scottish castle where the Queen spent much of her time including her final days before her passing – also feature prominently in the arrangement, and these include the Queen’s favourite flower, the sweet pea, as well as dahlias, phlox, white heather, and pine fir.
Many of these floral tributes also hold a poignant tribute to the Queen’s relationship with her late husband.
Dahlia flowers symbolise a lasting bond and lifelong commitment between two people, while sweet peas are associated with departures and goodbyes, as well as being the birth flower of April – which was the Queen’s birth month.
Typical of many floral arrangements at funeral services, many spectators also noticed that there was a card with a tribute message was placed in the centre of the wreath, and the message written on the note has now been revealed and shared by the BBC on the live television broadcast.
The message on the note card was from King Charles III, and was said to simply read – “In loving and devoted memory, Charles R.”
During her reign, she served as Queen of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth – undertaking an important symbolic and unifying role as a head of state, spanning numerous geographical regions, cultures, and religions.
She was not just the longest-reigning British monarch in history, but she was also the first-ever monarch to reign in the UK for 70 years.
Admired for her duty and dedication to the role, today her remarkable life was remembered by all.
Featured Image – The Royal Family (via Twitter)
Nurses across the UK say ‘enough is enough’ as they begin vote on strike action over pay
Hundreds of thousands of NHS nurses nationwide have now begun casting their votes on whether to strike over pay.
This is the first ever UK-wide ballot by the history of the nursing industry’s largest union.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has this week asked 300,000 nurses if they want to begin a campaign for industrial action for the first time in its 106-year history – with the union urging its members to vote in favour of striking, and the union’s general secretary calling this a “once-in-a-generation chance” to make real change.
The vote comes amid warnings that nurses are leaving the profession in record numbers, and are unhappy with working conditions, staff shortages, and ultimately, pay.
The RCN said new analysis by London Economics found that pay for nurses has declined at twice the rate of the private sector in the last decade.
Their real-terms earnings are said to have fallen by 6%.
“Across the board, it’s unacceptable,” the RCN said on the opening of the ballot.
“We’re campaigning for a pay rise of 5% above inflation to overcome a decade of real-terms pay cuts, support nursing staff through the cost-of-living crisis, and recognise their safety critical skills [as] only by paying nursing staff fairly will we be able to retain existing and recruit new nursing staff to the safety critical roles they do.”
The union is urging its members, including those across Greater Manchester, to “make your mark on history” by voting for strike action.
RCN General Secretary & Chief Executive Pat Cullen said the nation’s nurses are “understaffed, undervalued, and underpaid”.
Calling on members to cast their votes, Ms Cullen said: “For years, our profession has been pushed to the edge, and now patient safety is paying the price.
“We can’t stand by and watch our colleagues and patients suffer anymore.
“Though strike action is a last resort, it is a powerful tool for change, and we must demand that change. Enough is enough.
She continued: “This is a once in a generation chance to improve your pay and combat the staff shortages that put patients at risk. Governments have repeatedly neglected the NHS and the value of nursing. We can change this if together we say ‘enough is enough’.
“Record numbers are feeling no alternative but to quit and patients pay a heavy price. We are doing this for them too. I have spoken with hundreds of you directly in recent weeks – it’s clear we need urgent change.
“Nursing is the best job in the world. Protect it with your vote.”
Featured Image – UKHSA
Signs say ‘Instagrammable’ Manchester restaurant Boujee is closed for good
Less than two months after Boujee closed its site in Liverpool, signs have appeared outside the Manchester site showing that it has also suffered the same fate.
A handwritten note simply reading “closed, so sorry” has been taped to the all-pink restaurant and bar’s front door, whilst a second on the restaurant’s terrace, which had been taken over by pop-up venue Carnival, read: ‘we are extremely sorry but due to unforeseen circumstances we are left with no other options to close the venue.”
On the Boujee website, all traces of the Manchester venue have now been removed with just the Chester site now available to book online.
The news should not come as a surprise, given that the restaurant has appeared to be struggling for several months now.
Earlier this summer, staff walked out of the Liverpool site complaining of unpaid wages and tips. At the time, workers said that they had received just 40% of their expected wages on recent paydays and claimed that management had withheld their table service charges for months.
The pay dispute was reported in the Liverpool Echo, after staff told the paper some colleagues had walked out of shifts over the situation and that others were struggling to meet their rent and mortgage payments.
A company message was shared with Boujee’s staff at the end of June in an attempt to explain to workers why they had not received their full pay.
It said: “It is with huge regret and disappointment that we are not able to pay the wages in their entirety today. We have exhausted every avenue and it is at the point where we require the revenue from this weekend and next in order to catch up and make the payments in full.
“Today we will be making a payment to all employees of 40 per cent of their total wage. On Monday we will make a second payment and this will be 30 per cent of their total wage plus 50 per cent of the service charge for the month.
“The following Monday we will pay the remaining 30 per cent and the remaining 50 per cent of the service charge.
“We are extremely sorry that it has come to this and I assure you we are doing all we can to get back on track and our team are vital in this path to recovery. We fully appreciate this is not acceptable and we thank you for your hard work, support and loyalty through what has been a very challenging time.”
Now, it appears that the business has had another setback as it has moved to close its Manchester site too.
The news follows an announcement from the former director and Real Housewive Of Cheshire star Lystra Adams who revealed last month that she had walked away from the business.
In a post on Instagram, Lystra wrote: “I’m walking away … As of yesterday 23/09/2022 I walked away from what I’ve know and loved for past near two years. As many of you may know I have given considerable time and dedication in building the brand and platform for myself.
“Over the past eight months things had taken a bumpy turn. I had confidence in that the board of directors would turn it around. Unfortunately mistakes were made along the way […] and it made the comeback near impossible.”
She continued: “As a 20-per-cent shareholder and the face of the business I want you to know that I did what I could with what I had. […] I’ve made my voice heard more than before as I dreaded this day would come. I’ve taken abuse in all forms for being the face of the companies involved as well as my daughter and enough is enough.
“Sorry it’s taken so long to speak out and I want to thank each and everyone that has visited or worked for Boujee and carnival from opening until now. All my love, Lystra.”