The pain is still raw for the British. Since the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday September 8 at Balmoral, the time has been for meditation. Between the appointment of her heir son to the throne, King Charles III, the numerous appearances of the royal family and tributes around the world, the 96-year-old sovereign has left an indelible imprint on the hearts of her subjects.
But, how do foreigners living in the UK observe this period of mourning? Julien, a French expatriate in London for 7 months, looks back on the hours preceding the death of the Queen of England. “The same morning, an announcement had been made on the BBC that the state of health of the queen was worrying,” says the 27-year-old consultant for Planet. “With my colleagues, we regularly consulted the BBC application to find out the latest news, and follow the ‘process’ live”.
As usual every Thursday evening, Julien and his colleagues planned to go and have a drink in a bar. But, when leaving their place of work. “The news has fallen”, remembers our interlocutor on the announcement of his death.
If his colleagues were devastated by this immense loss, how did the consultant experience this moment? “As a Frenchman, it just seemed strange to me because obviously she was an emblematic figure on the international political scene”, before adding. “So obviously, after a reign of 70 years, it’s hard to imagine that she won’t be here anymore.”
Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, twelve days of national mourning have been decreed in the United Kingdom according to protocol. A period during which the English gather and also come to meet in front of Buckingham Palace to “lay flowers there and honor his memory” comments Julien. “All offices, shops, subway stations and other public places display a picture of the Queen, showing their respect.”
As in stalls and souvenir shops where derivative products bearing the image of the queen continue to flourish everywhere. “She’s already a pop culture icon here!” remarks Julien. T-shirts, figurines, cups or even postcards… Everything is an excuse to keep a souvenir of the Queen of England. “Anything you can think of, if you can put the Queen’s image on it, they’ll do it. It’s quite disconcerting,” smiled our expat.
On the work side, “nothing has changed on the professional level, the economy is not idling!”, Says the consultant, who returned to work the next day like his colleagues. While awaiting the arrival of the funeral convoy of Elizabeth II, which continues its journey across the country, London is preparing for the funeral on Monday, September 19 at Westminster Abbey. “The city is installing many public spaces to follow the ceremony live on a giant screen,” he explains.
If Julien does not wish to attend the funeral like his colleagues, this event will be broadcast worldwide. A final farewell to the queen that will forever be remembered.