The Person Behind the Monarch: The Worldwide Influence of Queen Elizabeth II’s Death

As the longest-reigning monarch in the history of the United Kingdom, serving as Queen for 70 years, Queen Elizabeth II was more than just a political figure. At 96 years of age, her passing on September 8th of 2022 made international headlines and shocked communities in a variety of regions—President Jair Bolsonaro published a statement regarding the situation on his Twitter, stating that Her Majesty was “an extraordinary and unique woman whose example of leadership, humility, and love for her nation will continue to inspire us and the whole world until the end of time.” He also declared that Brazil would officially be in mourning for three days after the fact.  

As news outlets scrambled to write about the event from a factual, political, or logical stance, it is evident that there is little to be said about the Queen as an individual. Former royal bodyguard Keith Hanson reports that he’d seen multiple people become “quivering wrecks” at the very sight of her, but that she was always quick to make all recipients feel “welcome” with a subtle squeeze of the hand. Hanson also claims that Queen Elizabeth would demonstrate being “genuinely interested in them [those she would greet] as a person”, and would never miss the opportunity to reassure her staff whenever they were on the job. 

Another member of the Queen’s security team told Sky News a funny story in June during the Jubilee celebrations, giving the media a peek into her personality. Officer Richard Griffin recalls a weekend spent in Balmoral Castle, a location frequently visited by the Queen and the place of her passing. As they went on a walk after a picnic lunch, a couple of hikers walked up to them; Griffin claims that “it was clear from the moment that we [him and Her Majesty] first stopped they hadn’t recognized the Queen.” They began to engage in conversation, and as Queen Elizabeth told the American she was from London but had a house in Scotland, he suggested that she had probably met the Queen before if she visited so often. Her Majesty wittily replied that she had not, but Griffin had, on numerous occasions, to which the Americans responded by handing the Queen their camera and asking for a picture with the bodyguard, and then for one with her. As they said their goodbyes, the Queen told Griffin she wished she were “a fly on the wall” to see the Americans’ reactions when they found out who she really was. Although this story happened prior to her death, it recently resurfaced on social media given the circumstances. 

When looking at our own Graded community, it’s clear to see that Queen Elizabeth’s passing left its mark as well. Enzo Ortega, a Brazilian sophomore, stated  that “although the Queen’s death didn’t affect [his] life personally, it’s definitely saddening to see such a prominent figure die.” He describes her as “a true leader who cared about her population.” The Talon told Juan Cruz, also a sophomore but from Argentina, the stories previously described, and he responded by saying that “everyone has their time to pass, and her time came, but it’s still definitely interesting to see the human behind the headlines and hear of all these stories” he told The Talon.  Minju Chun, a freshman from Korea, expressed that she saw the queen as “a symbol of life,” and getting news of her death was “obviously sad”.

These examples demonstrate the charisma and humor behind the marking figure of Queen Elizabeth II, and remind us that behind every world leader there is a person with human qualities. The death of an individual who, as president Joe Biden puts it, “defined an era,” places things into perspective for many. Anti-monarchists and royal supporters alike are expressing their curiosity and concern for what will happen following recent events, especially considering the continuity of Her Majesty’s reign. After 70 years, having gone through World War II, the Cold War, the creation of the European Union, Brexit, and Covid-19, she was synonymous with comfort and stability for the British people and, as we see through the abundant amount of supreme authorities giving their condolences to the Royal Family, for the entire world.