Parker Taft '24 was packing his bags just before leaving for London when he heard the news. Queen Elizabeth II had passed, and as the announcement reverberated around the globe, it dawned on Parker that he'd be flying into a country in mourning.
Everything Parker had planned for his first week studying abroad in London had changed. From orientation to the start of classes, everything was postponed as the nation grieved the loss of its beloved monarch. Parker saw a six-mile long queue of people waiting to see the Queen's casket. Parker figured he embarked on this adventure to immerse himself in another culture. So, he got in line.
“It was very eerie. I got up at 4:30 in the morning to get a spot at the funeral. It was the biggest, but most quiet group of people I have ever seen.”
Waiting in line for hours, Parker heard many stories from many Britons of all generations. He met a veteran who had only ever served under Queen Elizabeth II and had traveled from Northern Ireland to pay his respects. Another woman left a business conference and flew halfway across the continent to be there.
“It was humbling and awe-inspiring. It gave me great hope for the future of my study abroad experience being able to be a part of one of their deep traditions already.”
It's estimated that at least 250,000 people lined up to see the Queen's coffin. Parker wasn't the only Saint.
Veronica Forth '23 is also studying abroad in London this fall. Like Parker, she felt compelled to participate in history. But standing in line for eight hours? "It was one of the biggest honors of my life." Veronica shares her story, below.
"Early this past Thursday afternoon I went and queued to see Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for her lying in state. I waited close to eight hours to see her casket. While waiting those eight or so hours I met some lovely people; we talked about the late Queen, and where we came from to see her. The journey to Westminster was quite nice, people were chatting, offering food, etc. People from all different backgrounds were in attendance. When it came time to see the Queen everyone was somber, there was an air in the room the like of which I’d never been a part of. I’m a history major, and to be a part of history was one of the biggest honors of my life."