The Queen’s Death: Insight and Reactions

After over 70 years of her reign, Queen Elizabeth II passed away at 96 years old at her Balmoral Castle estate in Scotland. Though her age left her vulnerable to health issues, her death still shocked the Royal Family, and the public had a diverse range of reactions.

Buckingham Palace released statements hours before the Queen’s death that informed the public of the concerning state of the Queen’s health, and at 6:41 p.m. British Standard time came the statement announcing her passing.

The cause of her death is unknown, but past health issues could be related. In February of 2022, Queen Elizabeth contracted coronavirus, suffering only mild symptoms. In the following months, she refrained from attending large social gatherings due to problems with mobility.

Going back even further, it is noted that she was advised by medical professionals to give up drinking alcohol. 

Elizabeth Roy ’24 is a student studying abroad in Dickinson’s Norwich program who was in London when the Queen’s death was announced and in the days following. Her group received the news while on the Tube to Kentish Town. When they got onto the street, Roy recollected that “the world didn’t exactly stand still, but there were a number of people around us stopping and looking at their phones and talking to each other in a range of disbelief, grief, excitement.” She also noted that the news of her passing was “jarring,” as “the majority of the population have never lived in the time of another British monarch.”

The same night the news broke, Roy and other Dickinson students went to Buckingham Palace, where she said the mood was an “odd mix.” Roy described how “some people were crying, some people were shouting out syrupy speeches… others were drinking and smoking and laughing.” Interestingly enough, Roy also pointed out that some people in the area were “apathetic” to the death. “On the day of the Queen’s funeral, I asked my British flatmates how they felt, and they all shrugged and said they were sorry she died, but they didn’t really care all that much” Roy told The Dickinsonian. In general, she sees this sort of public reaction as a result of the “relatively small political influence of the monarch.”

As a whole, the British response to the news has been as expected: sorrowful and respectful. In London, a 25-hour long line of over 20,000 people formed in front of Queen Elizabeth’s casket.

Firefighters passed out blankets as the wait time extended. King Charles III now fills the Queen’s position, with other UK nations expressing their lasting loyalty to the monarchy by proclaiming “God save the King.” World leaders – such as President Joe Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Pope Francis, and numerous others – have made statements expressing sympathies for the family and acknowledgement of the Queen’s role in history.

Pakistan, one of the countries that was colonized by the British Crown from 1858 to 1947, observed a ‘day of mourning’ on September 12th. This has caused discrepancy between the government and general public of the country, who believe the event did not require such recognition. There has been opposition to the considerable gesture made by the government for observing the Queen’s demise because of South Asia’s history with the British Empire.

The British established colonies in South Asia under the banner of ‘East India Company’ — a monopolistic trading corporation that dominated trade with East and Southeast Asia — which later became a catalyst for colonization in the region. While there is still bitterness today due to history and massive loss of life that occurred under the British monarchy, it is also important to highlight the developments made in the region during the rule, including but not limited to improvements in mobility, education and social reforms.