William And Catherine Credit A Weather Phenomenon As A Message From The Queen

It was pouring rain as the United Kingdom learned of Queen Elizabeth II's ill health on Sept. 8, 2022. However, the typical English weather didn't stop people from flooding to stand outside royal residences, whether at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, or Balmoral Estate, to await further news (via The Guardian).

The crowds gathering outside Buckingham were treated to the sight of a double rainbow in the late afternoon, shortly before the death of the queen was announced (via Twitter). While the news officially broke at 6:31 p.m. BST, it's believed that the monarch passed away in the afternoon (via Politico).

As the British public mourned their sovereign, a rainbow appeared directly behind a Union Jack flag as it was being lowered to half-mast at Windsor Castle. It was only there "for a few minutes and then just like that it was gone," photographer Chris Jackson shared on Twitter.

While in Scotland, Prince William and Catherine Middleton saw some special weather, too.

The Prince and Princess of Wales experienced a weather phenomenon in Scotland

These rainbows were a talking point during a visit to Windsor Hall by William, Prince of Wales, and Catherine, Princess of Wales — their first royal engagement since the funeral (via Daily Mail).

While speaking with the staff and volunteers who helped put together the committal service of Queen Elizabeth II at St. George's Chapel, William shared a poignant moment they had while staying at Balmoral to grieve with their family. "You hardly ever see rainbows up there, but there were five," William said, to which Kate added, "Her Majesty was looking down on us."

The Prince of Wales also spoke of getting "choked up" at seeing all the Paddington Bear tributes to his late grandmother at Balmoral, Windsor, and Sandringham. "It is always very comforting that so many people care," he said. "It makes it a lot better ... You are prepared for all but certain moments catch you out."

From Scotland to London, rainbows continued to be a familiar presence as Britain mourned its queen. One even arched over Westminster Hall the day before the queen's funeral, where she was lying in state (via Evening Standard).

There's a British phrase often used to describe the weather

The weather was surprisingly clear at Queen Elizabeth II's funeral (via Daily Mail). This sort of pleasant, sunny weather is sometimes referred to as "the Queen's weather," according to Fox Weather. When the queen was coronated in 1952, The Times commented on the symbolism of the clear skies lighting her ascension to the throne. 

"In London the sun itself seemed conscious of its status as a symbol of the mutability of existence, and behaved accordingly," the newspaper wrote. Before and during the coronation, "the sun waxed stronger, then vanished till the end ... to come out cheerfully again."

The phrase can be linked all the way back to Queen Victoria. The earliest use of the term is attributed to author Charles Dickens in 1851 (via The Guardian). "The sky was cloudless; a brilliant sun gave to it that cheering character which — from the good fortune Her Majesty experiences whenever she travels ... has passed into a proverb, as 'The Queen's Weather,'" he wrote.

As written in the book "Queen Victoria: A Personal Sketch," her wedding day saw "the showers and clouds [disappear] as by magic, and the 'Queen's weather' shone out triumphant."