Royal experts reflect on Queen Elizabeth II’s legacy
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - As people in the U.K. and around the world mourn the death of Queen Elizabeth II, preparations are underway for her funeral next week.
The queen’s coffin was flown to London on Tuesday, where she’ll lie in state in parliament’s Westminster Hall for four days, ahead of her funeral on Monday that will be broadcast around the world.
“When the news first came through that the queen had died, so many people told me ‘I didn’t think I would be as upset as I am, I didn’t know her, but it really has made me cry,’” said royal commentator Jonathan Sacerdoti.
Sacerdoti told us tens of thousands of people have already been paying tribute in London, as well as in Scotland, where the queen died last week at age 96.
“She was the crown as far as most of us were concerned because she’s the only monarch we’d ever known in our lives, so it is the transition that people are going to have to get used to even just getting the words right,” Sacerdoti noted.
Those new words: King Charles III. Royal historian Marlene Koenig explained the transition happened at the moment of the queen’s death.
“Everyone turns to Charles. I can imagine that his sister got up and curtsied him,” Koenig explained.
With no time to grieve himself, Koenig said the new king made a bee line to the people.
“The first thing he did he and Queen Camilla when they arrived at Buckingham Palace was the car stopped before it went in and they got out and started greeting the people and he was comforting them and they were comforting him,” Koenig said.
In a show of unity, Meghan Markle and Prince Harry reunited with Prince William and Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales, despite the expected airing of dirty laundry in the form of a podcast by Markle and an upcoming memoir by Prince Harry.
“That’s exactly what they’ve been doing. That’s how they’ve earned their money. I think that all of the interest in Meghan Markle and Prince Harry lies in their connection to the royal family and all of their interest lies in their conflicts with the royal family,” Sacerdoti said.
However, both royal watchers said the focus should remain on Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, who leaves a legacy of grace, longevity, and service.
“It’s a woman who has never ever shirk her responsibilities her duties as Sovereign,” Koenig said.
“Her amazing sense of duty and service,” Sacerdoti added.
The queen reigned over major political, cultural, and technological shifts and though her role was rooted in tradition, she kept up with the times.
“She took to using video conferencing and Zoom and that’s not necessarily a given, but again, despite her position of privilege and wealth, she managed to still reflect what most of the country were doing,” Sacerdoti said.
The funeral will be marked as a public holiday in the U.K., ending a 10-day period of national mourning.
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