This first Thursday of September 2022 will become a day when a huge chapter of history came to an end. It was a rainy and rather cold day in London. When the previous week we were still spoiled by summery feelings, this seemed to be the first day of autumn. Who would have thought that the chilliness would not just be weather-wise, but touch all our hearts leading into the early hours of that evening? A double rainbow could be seen in some parts above that London sky. Perhaps a sign of unity, a sign of comfort given to us by the wonder of nature. Reminding us of our own mortality.
On that evening, when the Union flags above Buckingham Palace in central London were lowered to half-mast at 6:30 pm BST, the meaning and the sadness of that gesture became clear. What many have feared, became real. The devastating news about the passing of Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the United Kingdom’s longest reigning monarch broke; Britain has turned silent. People around the globe are paying tribute to the late Queen, remembering her 70 years of service.
She has died peacefully on Thursday afternoon the 8th of September at her Scottish estate at Balmoral. She was surrounded by her children, her son King Charles III and daughter Princess Anne, who were at her side. King Charles said “We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished sovereign and much-loved mother.”
As the Prime Minister Liz Truss said in a statement: “Queen Elizabeth was the rock on which modern Britain was built.
HRH Queen Elizabeth II was only 25 years old when she became Queen upon her father King George V’s sudden death. But it wasn’t until two years later, at the age of 27 years, when she was crowned on her coronation day on the 2nd of June 1958 at Westminster Abbey in London. She has been 70 years on the throne, leading a life devoted to her duty, to the public service. A life completely under the scrutiny eyes of the public. She was the people’s Queen.
Boris Johnson met Her Majesty just two days before her death, when he officially handed in his resignation as Prime Minster. In a touching, poignant and very heartfelt speech he expressed his tribute to the late Queen. “She showed the world not just how to reign over people, she showed the world how to give, how to love and how to serve.” He adds by saying that “It was that indomitability, that humor, that work ethic, that sense of history which together made her Elizabeth the Great.”
Despite living an extraordinary life entirely for her duty as the Queen in service of her country, the United Kingdom, she was in first place as a woman. A back then young 25-year-old which would become widely known for her pride and efforts in modernizing the institution of the Monarchy.
Up until the 1950s, a woman after marriage would mostly be a housewife, being responsible for the upbringing of children and for a perfect household. Yet, this was the beginning of a new area, marking a social change in society. The rise of working mothers.
It comes of no surprise, that the Her Majesty the Queen, who was a mother of four, would become a role model for working mothers. She would inspire billions of young mothers around the world. She was seen as an example as she was perfectly juggling motherhood while at the same time following, reliably and tirelessly, her immense duty to reign a whole nation- and beyond. Her son King Charles was only three years old at the time of the coronation. In her new role as the Queen, she had to often leave her children behind due to her royal commitments and travels around the world. This would limit the time she was able to spend with her children. As the children grew older, they were therefore away most of the academic year attending boarding schools.
In a 2002 interview for the BBC, Princess Anne recalls: “We as children may have not been too demanding in the sense that we understand what the limitations were in time and the responsibilities placed on her as a monarch in the things she had to do and the travels she had to make. But I don’t believe any of us for a second thought she didn’t care for us in exactly the same way as any other mother did.”
King Charles also recalls a sweet anecdote of a “marvelous moment, he shall never forget.”
He shared a moment just before the coronation was held in 1953. “I shall never forget, when we were small, having a bath and she came in practicing wearing the crown before the coronation.” Deeply touched he continues, “She was always there, I could talk to her about this, that, or the other. I think, that is always going to be something that will be very difficult not to have”.
As Great Britain and far beyond around the entire world are mourning and a part of long-lasting history comes to an end, it is the beginning of a new area with a new King. King Charles III.
The world watched closely when a visibly thoughtful-looking Charles walked next to his wife Camilla through the gates into Buckingham Palace 24 hours after the Monarch’s death, for the first time as King and Queen Consort.
As everything that ends, there are new beginnings. New chances, regardless of someone’s status. Life continues through generations to come.
We have all been given chances to try to give our best in our ability. Exactly as HRH Queen Elizabeth II aspired her entire life to do. As she shall never be forgotten- Long live the King…
People around the entire globe are paying tribute to the late Queen, remembering her 70 years of service.
Since the announcement of the Monarch’s death, hundreds of thousands of well-wishers are leaving floral and other tributes as well as cards outside the gates of Buckingham Palace, Windsor, Sandringham and Balmoral, to pay their final respects. Since Sunday morning the 11th of September, people have been guided to a dedicated area in Green Park to lay their floral tributes. This comes as the number of people wandering to Buckingham Palace is expected to reach more than a million of people, travelling from all parts of the United Kingdom.
The grounds surrounding Buckingham Palace and Green Park have been mostly closed, while mourners have been warned to plan ahead for journeys during these ten days. There are long queues from Victoria Station, St James’s Park, all the way down the Mall leading to the Palace and up to Piccadilly. On Sunday there were queues of over two hours to access the front of the gate of Buckingham Palace and to walk the short distance away to Green Park where the floral tributes are left.
Paddington Bear, which has been created by British author Michel Bond, has been candidly taken as a reference to the Queen’s appearance in a short movie for her Platinum Jubilee, where she had tea with the Bear. As a sweet tribute, next to flowers, many Paddington Bears have been left. A four-year-old little boy said: “The Queen died, but Paddington came to take her home.”
The atmosphere is nearly surreal. People from all ages come together for what nearly feels like a pilgrimage. From families with very small children to those that have spent their entire life with the Queen, everyone wanted to be part of this last colorful floral farewell. Despite the huge amount of people and the long wait, it is very peaceful. Some people hug each other, some are joyfully sharing memories, others simply stand and watch silently. But all of them are sharing the same wish: a last respect to the Queen of people.
It is definitely an experience of a lifetime and worth everything. A day that those that who were there will never forget. To witness this is overwhelming. The infinite ocean of flowers laid out carefully on the grounds of Green Park is difficult to describe in words. The uplifting scent of the innumerable bouquets of flowers which have filled the air will remain in someone’s memory. Those are moments which will remain in history to come.
The floral tributes are expected to be left on site during the entire ten days of mourning and up to seven to fourteen days after the state funeral which will be held on the 19th of September.