farewell to the queen
Houston joins world in mourning as Queen Elizabeth II passes away at 96
Editor’s note: As the city, and the world, marks this historic passing and indeed, an end of an era, CultureMap looks back at a Houstonian’s photos (above) of the queen’s Diamond Jubilee in London in 2012, in a piece by former society editor Shelby Hodge.
The world has paused as Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-serving monarch in United Kingdom’s history, passed away at the age of 96 on Thursday, September 8 at Balmoral, the Scottish castle and holiday home of the Royal Family.
The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon, read a statement from Buckingham Palace. The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.
She was surrounded by family; when doctors placed her under supervision, her children traveled to Balmoral, joined by grandson Prince William. Prince Harry is en route, according to news reports.
Per ABC News, Queen Elizabeth’s funeral will take (tentatively) at Westminster Abbey 10 days after her death, following the tradition of observing a national period of mourning. Notably, she would be the first sovereign to have a funeral there since 1760.
Following the services, per ABC News, the queen is expected to be buried at St. George's Chapel in a private service on the grounds of Windsor Castle. She will be laid to rest next to her father, King George VI; her sister, Princess Margaret; and Prince Philip, her husband of 73 years.
Now, in keeping with tradition, Queen Elizabeth’s passing ushers in her son, formerly known as Prince Charles, as king; he will thus be known as King Charles III.
A statement from His Majesty The King: pic.twitter.com/AnBiyZCher— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) September 8, 2022
His Majesty The King, Charles released a the following statement after his mother’s passing:
The death of my beloved Mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family.
We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.
During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which The Queen was so widely held.
Queen Elizabeth’s reign spanned 70 years, beginning at post-World War II recovery to a transition from empire to Commonwealth. She witnessed the end of the Cold War and watched as the UK entered, and ultimately withdrew from the European Union.
But perhaps no event, however, connected her to the world — especially those not in the Commonwealth — more than her public presence and statements following the death of Princess Diana of Wales, who lost her life 25 years ago this month.
Here in Houston, locals are stopping by cultural mainstays such as British Isles, the UK shop in Rice Village. Longtime manager and Brit Guy Streatfeild tells CultureMap the news hit him “like a sledgehammer,” especially given that the store just celebrated her Golden Jubilee.
“People aren’t quite sure what to do, how best to pay tribute,” he says of those who visited the store just after news of the Queen’s passing. “One gentleman came in just to buy flowers.” The store will also provide a guestbook for visitors to sign, which will be delivered either to the British Royal Consulate or Buckingham Palace.
A representative for the British Consulate-General, Houston was unable to comment, citing protocol, but will provide updates via social media.
Meanwhile, locals can expect official ceremonies at area venues in the days to come.
Houston last hosted the queen 31 years ago. Her trip included a private dinner at the Museum of Fine Arts, a trek to Johnson Space Center, and an endearing moment at Houston’s oldest black Baptist church, where she joyfully tapped her toes to the gleeful gospel music.