The UK is in mourning. Aged 96, Queen Elizabeth II died Thursday afternoon, September 8, at Balmoral, in the Highlands, her Scottish summer residence that she loved so much.
With her passing, the British lose much more than an exceptionally popular sovereign. They lose more than a monarch who has known the longest reign in the history of the country: he will have lasted seventy years, since his accession to the throne on the death of his father, King George VI in 1952 – his jubilee of platinum, last spring, had been the occasion of a great national holiday.
The British also mourn a planetary figure, whose continuous and reassuring presence at their side since the end of the Second World War – on their television screens, the pages of their newspapers or their banknotes – had ended up make his end hard to imagine. At the end of the war, a young bride and mother, she embodied this symbol of vigor which the country, bloodless, precisely needed. Still there after the Suez Canal crisis in 1956, the dismantling of the Empire, the great strikes of the late 1970s, the end of the Cold War, imperturbable despite the scandals and family torments, she had become this symbol of stability that the country lacked.
Praised for her sense of duty and her dignity, Elizabeth II was reassuring, especially since the United Kingdom left the European Union, and while it is still seeking its place in the world and chaining governments. After the very colorful mandate of Boris Johnson, that of Liz Truss, which began only three days ago, on September 5, is the fourth in six years. For all these reasons, the queen’s disappearance is likely to bring many feelings of loss, even emptiness, to the country.
A highly unusual statement
Her eldest son, Charles, Prince of Wales, immediately became King Charles III upon his mother’s death, as is national constitutional tradition. In a first statement to the country, the new sovereign said that this disappearance was “a moment of great sadness” for him and his family and that the loss of the queen would be “deeply felt” in the whole world.
A ten-day national mourning opens from Friday, September 9, as part of an operation choreographed for years by Buckingham Palace, called “Operation London Bridge”.
Newsrooms across the country gasped at around 12:30 p.m. Thursday when Buckingham Palace released a highly unusual statement: “The Queen’s doctors are concerned for Her Majesty’s health and have recommended that she remains under medical supervision. The Queen does not suffer and remains at Balmoral. »
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