On Friday, September 9, 2022, I set foot in the United Kingdom for the first time in my life, never having imagined until then that there would be a monarchy rule. The Queen hadn’t died for 24 hours and I was on my way to Franceinfo to cover the event, which inevitably had a huge impact: the country just lost the one who ruled for 70 years, the record for longevity. . When Elizabeth II began to reign, my grandmother was 8 years old.
Same view everywhere, from Balmoral to Edinburgh, from Buckingham Palace to Westminster. The crowd rushed, flowers in hand, flag sometimes on their backs, to watch the procession for a few seconds, the coffin placed on the gun carriage, covered with the royal standard and the royal crown raised by the deceased. went ahead. His coronation The Queen, on her last journey, carried thousands of people who accompanied her in solemn silence, often followed by loud applause. A formal ceremony, validated by the Queen herself, if she were to die in Scotland. One way to do politics without doing it, according to Teresa, a Scotswoman who crossed over in Edinburgh: ,I don’t know if it’s accidental or not, but dying at Balmoral, marching all this up to Edinburgh before returning to London … It’s very political, not really that.”
They were tens of thousands at St-Gilles Cathedral in Edinburgh, then hundreds of thousands at Westminster Hall in London, when subjects of the Crown were able to gather in front of the coffin. There were long queues in both the cities where everyone was ready to wait for hours. For example, in Edinburgh, the queue was over two kilometers long, and crossed half of the city centre. In London some stationed themselves 48 hours earlier. 750,000 people are expected to arrive.
Although going before the coffin of the deceased is an intimate thing. But forever, the answers were the same: “She was our queen”, “We want to give him our respects”, “She Was Like A Grandmother”, And the same reminder every time: “Yes but why ?” And often nothing. Mystery. She was the queen, period. It is enough to queue for hours at night, in the cold and in the rain.
“You still have to remember that since most Britons were born, like their parentsJean remembers Alma-Pierre Bonnet, lecturer in British Civilization at the University of Moulin-Lyon 3. She has always been the watermark of his life: you can’t spend a day in the United Kingdom among coins and banknotes, stamps without seeing her face… written everywhere.”
The queen has therefore imposed herself in everyday life, whatever it may be. Especially since in fact, in the 70 years this has happened, as many British people I’ve interviewed say, a “Continuous Crisis”, She was already there during World War II, not as a sovereign but as a princess. It was there during the decolonization. There again during the 1973 oil crisis, and in the same year entered the European Economic Community. In 1982 for the Falklands War, in 1991 for the first Gulf War, then in 2003 for the second. As always for the 2008 financial crisis, the 2016 Brexit, the 2020 covid crisis never took a stand. Be a friendly, smiling, maternal figure, thanks to effective Buckingham storytelling. “On the spin-doctor side, they’re very strong, Alma-Pierre emphasizes the bonnet. since 1997 [et la mort de Diana]He focused on a positive image, and gathered around a small family” To produce a narrative, the researcher analyzes.
But there’s more to this side “Defendant” Which many Britons have pointed out. Because Alma-Pierre Bonnet does not remember such enthusiasm for past English sovereigns. “This funeral reminds me of Winston Churchill. More than one person, the United Kingdom bids goodbye to an era, British unity”He explains.
“It is a certain idea of Britain that is dead. The British feel as if they are saying goodbye to an era.”Alma Pierre Bonnet
basically, “Despite decolonization, despite Brexit, which really tore the UK apart, the British still thought of themselves as a great nation. It’s a very apathetic countryAlma-Pierre decrypts the bonnet. It is the Churchill legacy of the British Empire that is fading away. The British are certainly living a moment of loneliness.”
“France has more or less understood that, alone, it was no longer that strong”, according to him. So it is left for the British to follow the same path, which is going “To begin with, to explore the real effects of Brexit as we come out of the COVID crisis”, There’s probably this little thing here that seems incomprehensible, even incomprehensible, from here on out. By mourning their queen, the British are also mourning a special idea of their country. And that, perhaps, is worth standing together for a few hours, reminiscing about the past before saluting 70 years of history for one last time.