Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II died on Thursday at the age of 96.
The flowers for her funeral were apparently sent from Turkey.
This is not as uncommon as it may seem at first glance. In 2008, on her first visit to Turkey in more than 30 years, the Queen gave a speech at a state banquet in her honour.
“Turkey,” she said, “is uniquely positioned as a bridge between East and West at a crucial time for the EU and the world at large … playing a key role in promoting peace, political stability and economic development in some of the world’s most troubled areas.”
The background to Queen Elizabeth’s relationship with Turkey is interesting. The longest-reigning British monarch attached great importance to the historical sites of Turkey.
On the last day of her visit, she and her late husband Prince Philip took a boat trip across the Bosphorus, accompanied by then-Turkish President Abdullah Gül and his wife Hayrunnia Ozyurt.
The royal couple also visited the Istanbul Modern Museum and Kabatas High School in Ortaköy, where they attended an event for a science project.
In a small but important example of sports diplomacy, during her 2008 visit to Turkey, Queen Elizabeth gave a soccer ball autographed by England star David Beckham to a Turkish boy at a birthday garden party at the British Embassy in Ankara.
The Queen was joined at the party by then Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife Emine.
Bursa Ulu Mosque
Queen Elizabeth II visited the Bursa Ulu Mosque in 2008 out of respect for Turkey’s Ottoman past.
In addition, she paid tribute to the founder of the Republic of Turkey:
“It is a great honor for me to pay my respects to Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, a friend of the United Kingdom who is highly regarded as one of the greatest personalities in modern history.”
Now, less than a week after the Queen’s death, the Turkish people continue to pay their respects to her. A hotel in Antalya demonstrated this by playing the British national anthem for its guests.
— LA Matthews (@TheLAMatthews) 8 September 2022
As soon as news of her death reached him, Erdogan expressed his deepest condolences to the royal family, people and government of the United Kingdom.
Carnations during burial
Top Turkish growers have turned to airfreight to quickly meet booming demand for their carnations to be used during the mourning period and funeral of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.
Elizabeth, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and a towering figure on the world stage for 70 years, died peacefully on Thursday afternoon after her health deteriorated. Her funeral will take place on September 19 and her body will lie in a state of decomposition for four days.
Demand for carnations for the period of mourning and the state funeral of the 96-year-old queen has increased by 90%, according to growers from Turkey’s southern provinces of Antalya and Isparta.
They say the shipment of at least 1.5 million flowers has begun and that companies have been forced to choose airfreight over the traditional overland trucks to meet orders that have led to increased daily working hours, and the companies have hired additional employees.
Queen Elizabeth’s coffin began a six-hour journey from her summer home in the Scottish Highlands to Edinburgh on Sunday as thousands traveled the route in tribute to the late queen.