• Wed. Sep 21st, 2022

London’s black cab drivers share memories of Queen Elizabeth II and relive closest encounters as city mourns her death

ByElla E. Kidwell

Sep 14, 2022

London’s famous black cab drivers are remembering Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II with heartfelt tributes and stories following her death on Thursday.

Black cabs are as famous as the red buses they run with, drivers notoriously required to know every street in London to provide top-notch service.

Taxi drivers are also known for their ability to read the sentiment of the city as they travel around the city by talking to tourists and locals.

Sky News Australia host Peta Credlin sat down with some of the black cab drivers dubbed ‘London’s best’ to find out how the city has been affected by Her Majesty’s death.

“It’s very dark right now isn’t it, it’s kind of I don’t know if people are slowly going around their business,” said Liam, a taxi driver of nine years.

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“It’s the anticipation of the Queen returning here, everyone is very sad that she was loved by everyone.”

“The Queen will be sorely missed and it’s been very sad since the news broke on Thursday, you can definitely tell, it’s kind of like a loud voice and it’s on everyone’s mind,” said John, a driver for eight years.

“London will never be the same without the Queen but we will move forward with the King.”

Jo, who has been driving a black cab for six years, added that the atmosphere in town has changed after the Queen’s death.

“Everyone is a little more calm and respectful. I just think it’s a different vibe to the minute and that’s probably how I feel too, it makes you feel different and I think a lot of people feel that way,” she said.

In the hours following news of the Queen’s death, dozens of black taxi drivers lined the mall to pay their respects to Britain’s longest reigning monarch as they did after the death of Prince Philip.

Several of the taxi drivers parked on The Mall were emotional as the news spread across the city.

London is preparing for Her Majesty’s funeral with several rehearsals already underway as thousands of mourners line up to bid farewell to the Queen at Westminster Hall.

Taxi drivers admitted there were already more international tourists getting into their cars as people traveled from around the world to pay their respects to the Queen.

“I’ve definitely noticed quite a wide range of people this week, obviously London gets a lot of tourists anyway, but there are definitely more people in town,” John said.

The ‘best in London’ meet a wide range of residents, tourists and celebrities throughout their day and they reminded Credlin of some of their best encounters and sightings with the Queen.

Liam recalled driving a young family when one of the children said he saw the Queen in the vehicle next to them before his father told him I couldn’t be Her Majesty.

“I said ‘no it wouldn’t be because they’d have all the riders and cars to take her’ and then I turned around and looked, yes she was sitting in the back of the car. ‘a range rover with only its two security guys sitting in traffic with the rest of us,’ he said.

“The first time I saw her and it was a long time ago when I was in town and she was turning left on the quay going up Queen Street and I was waiting for a job and she just had to go stopped and looked me straight in the eye and gave me the Queenie wave,” said Tony, a taxi driver of 36 years.