Royal Watchers Took Comfort In A Weather Anomaly Following The Queen's Death

It was announced on Thursday, September 8, 2022, that Queen Elizabeth II passed away at the age of 96. According to BBC News, the queen was surrounded by close family and died "peacefully." The end of the second Elizabethan era marks the beginning of the reign of the United Kingdom's new monarch, King Charles III.

As mourners gathered around Buckingham Palace, which symbolized Queen Elizabeth's death by lowering The Union Flag to half-mast, a rare event was seen nearby. Live footage of Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle shown by the BBC shortly after the announcement of the queen's passing showed a double rainbow ending somewhere behind the royal residence. The city had experienced heavy downpours earlier in the day.

As the heartbreaking news spread across the globe, thousands of mourners flocked to royal residences in the United Kingdom. The BBC spoke to several people outside of Buckingham Palace, including 40-year-old Liran Shufman, who snapped photos of the rainbow peeking out behind the Queen Victoria monument. Seemingly unaware of the tragic update, she told the outlet that the rainbow gave her hope that the monarch would return to good health. 

Meanwhile, users across social media shared similar sightings of the double rainbow. Andy Lines, a reporter with The Daily Mirror, tweeted a video that showed the full expanse of the double rainbow. Andy Ngô also took to Twitter, sharing a picture of the double rainbow over the crowds gathering outside of Buckingham Palace.

Mourners found special meaning in the rare event

For many people, a rainbow is more than a mere weather event. Rather, it holds special meaning. According to Wise Living Institute, a double rainbow denotes some sort of transformation. While the inner rainbow symbolizes moving from heaven to earth, the outer rainbow reportedly marks the ascent from earth to heaven.

Rainbows have long been associated with death. Norse mythology states that rainbows are actually bridges between the world of the living and the world of the dead (via Angelical Balance). According to Cake, some believe that seeing a rainbow after someone dies is confirmation that their loved one has reached their "next destination." One Twitter user echoed this sentiment, tweeting that they believed the rainbows were a sign that God knew "we're hurting" in the wake of Queen Elizabeth's death.

After a local news channel posted a photo of the rainbow over Windsor Castle, many mourners chimed in. "Nature always shows up for us at the right time," one user wrote. Another believed the event was the queen's way of "letting people know she's ok." No matter what meaning mourners ascribed to the event, it seemed to bring comfort amid the heartbreaking loss.