Dispatches from Home and London – The Day the Queen Died. September 8 2022

Good evening from London. We went to Westminster Abbey this afternoon. I was awestruck by its majesty and grandeur. Sam and I decided to go our separate ways while in the Abbey. Later in the day, I went looking for him, and found him in the tomb where Elizabeth I was interned. With an ashen face he said, “I just got an FB message saying the Queen has taken a turn for the worst and that Charles has been summoned to Balmoral.” We then were lulled into heaven via the Westminster Choir of Men and Boys at Evensong. After eating a late lunch at the Abbey’s cafe, we left. It had been pouring rain, but as we left the Abbey, the sun came out. And with it came a rainbow, stretching it’s iridescent beauty across the sky.               

We decided to walk down Victoria Street to find a Boots’ drug store for my drippy sinuses. We did. It started raining again, so we decided to step into a tony-looking tea shop. While we sipped our tea, I smiled at two elderly ladies. They smiled back. Then Sam’s phone rang, and he said with profound sadness, “The Queen has died.” People’s phones started ringing. Faces saddened. The ladies continued sipping their tea as if nothing had happened. Realizing they did not know, I approached them and said, “Excuse me, but it’s just been announced that the Queen has died.” One lady burst into tears, the other lady just shook her head, wrapping her starched napkin around her arthritic fingers. They expressed their dislike for Charles but said they, as well as England, would weather the upcoming storm.      

                We then hailed a cab to take us to the theater to see The Woman in Black. Taking our seats on the front row, the house lights dimmed, the curtain went up, and then, the stage lights came up as well. Then one by one the entire cast and backstage crew came on stage. Then, the stage manager said, “As I’m sure most of you know, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth has died. Please join us in a minute of silent remembrance for her Majesty.” The silence that followed was deafening. After the minute passed, the touching strains of “God Save The Queen” echoed around the theater. The audience stood. Many of the cast and crew had tears in their eyes, as did many in the audience…myself included.

                Old London Town’s a bit sad tonight. Museums, churches, and other historic sights are closing. It was raining once again as we left the theater. Hailing a cab, we dashed along the slick streets. The Queen’s smiling face greeted us at every other street corner. The bus stops had already put up lighted pictures of the Queen, and city employees were beginning to set up viewing stands around the Abbey for the upcoming funeral. With many things closing in London and throughout England, I’m not sure how this will affect our holiday. But remembering what one of the little ladies said, I guess we’ll just have to weather the storm as best we can. From London, goodnight my friends.