The Death of Queen Elizabeth II: US Reactions


Mrs. Evelyn

Flowers and notes in commemoration of Queen Elizabeth II lay beneath a tree in England.

Philip Roberts, Reporter

Philip interviewed his neighbor, Mrs. Evelyn, a former English citizen who now is an American citizen, about how the Queen’s death impacts the UK and the world, as well as her experience in London as the Queen’s funeral procession passed by.

The day after Queen Elizabeth II’s death, Mrs. Evelyn bought a plane ticket to London. When asked what prompted her to travel to London for the Queen’s funeral, she stated that she wanted to be there because of the significance of such an event, as she always knew it would be “a really important moment in history that wasn’t going to come again.” 

Although Mrs. Evelyn is no longer an English citizen (she gave up her English citizenship and is now an American citizen), her perspective on the Queen has not changed. “She was just such a foundational part of my growing up and my experiences – she was just there. The Queen was a symbol of continuity. It’s like the Eiffel Tower: you think of the Eiffel Tower and it’s just there, and if it suddenly wasn’t there it would cause some sort of uncertainty.” 

Even amidst the uncertainty caused by the Queen’s death, Mrs. Evelyn stated that there was unity among the people in England, similar to the unity that resulted after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. During the ten days of national mourning before Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral, “people stopped talking about politics, stopped bickering, and I definitely felt that atmosphere of unity – it was just all about the Queen for ten days.” People wanted to share their experiences of the Queen’s death with each other. Thus, if traveling to London to pay respects to the Queen was not possible, then people watched her funeral at home with family and friends or in pubs, explained Mrs. Evelyn. 

The respite from politics was somewhat short-lived, though, for “as soon as the official mourning ended, politics started again because it’s such a difficult period in the British experience right now,” said Mrs. Evelyn. Since “people were already anxious about the economy, about what’s happening with energy, about the situation with Russia,” the Queen’s death only added to the anxiety felt by many Britons.

Despite the anxiousness that Britons are experiencing, the “impeccably choreographed transition…to Charles III” showed that “everything’s stable and under control” and helped calm a nation that experienced the loss of such a monumental figure, said Mrs. Evelyn. 

When asked if there are ways to ensure the continuation of Queen Elizabeth II’s legacy, Mrs. Evelyn simply stated that “I don’t think anyone has to do anything for that…regardless of what happens from now on, her place in history is secure. In terms of her legacy with respect to a monarchy that is well-respected and sustainable, that’s all up to Charles.” 


The funeral procession took around four hours to reach the area that Mrs. Evelyn and her mother were in. The atmosphere was reverent, and the thousands of people in the crowd were silent as the Queen’s coffin passed through the streets, according to her. The air was filled with mixed emotions as the Queen’s coffin passed by: thankfulness for her reign but also mourning for the loss of a queen who reigned for seventy years.

Mrs. Evelyn humorously recounted how she caught a better view of the Queen’s coffin by climbing onto a window ledge. “A lot of the good spots were taken, but I found a nook…once I was in the nook, I couldn’t see what was coming, but as soon as [the Queen’s procession] passed my field of view, I was able to see everything.” Mrs. Evelyn even brought a foldable step stool for her mother to get a better view of the procession. “She wanted to climb up too,” Mrs. Evelyn recalled, laughing. 

The reactions to the deaths of Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth II were strikingly different, Mrs. Evelyn noted. People were “angry, grief-stricken, and shocked” about the death of Princess Diana, who died from injuries sustained in a vehicle crash in 1997. But “[t]he atmosphere for the Queen was different. She was ninety-six; she had a good life.”


For more in this series, check out “The Death of Queen Elizabeth II: An Overview” and “The Death of Queen Elizabeth II: UK Reactions”.