Not all Britons are fans of the monarchy but many recognise that Queen Elizabeth II’s 70-year reign is an achievement, seeing her as an enduring figurehead of the nation.
The 95-year-old head of state on Sunday became the first British monarch in history to reign for 70 years. Public celebrations are planned for early June.
On the streets of London, the public broadly welcomed the landmark event. Here are some reactions:
John Paul, 22, works in politics
“I think it’s a really great achievement… it’s a real unifying thing for the country to bring people together. The queen is very popular, people of all generations, three generations now can look at the queen and they have some kind of connection with her.
“We’ve been through a really tough time as a country. And I think one of the things that I look back on particularly during the first wave of the pandemic, when we had the first lockdown was people looked to the queen.
“Hopefully it’ll bring people back… and we’ll forget even if it is only for a day and I’m sure it will see people forget those divisions. They’ll come back together. That’d be nice to see.”
David Newell, 33, works in education
“It means something I suppose, it’s not nothing… we live in Britain, I’m British, and it’s a British institution, part of the makeup of the country. So I think it makes a difference. And I’m quite happy to get a few days off as well.
“There’s still a lot of evolution to do. I think certainly, with recent news, there’s definitely work to be done and I think there’s the potential for that to happen… I wouldn’t abolish the monarchy. But yeah, I think there’s work to be done.”
Bill Hartness, 50s, works in responsible investment
“She’s gone through some up and down times over the years, but I think she’s highly respected now and as a leader with integrity, and that’s something I think we need to see more in our leaders these days because we don’t see much of it elsewhere else.
“I think that everybody’s had to adjust incredibly over the last 70 years. You think of all the changes and technology and issues and all these things, you know, and monarchy I think, has by and large evolved strongly probably in the last 15 to 20 years.”
Helen Chadwick, 60, retired
“I’m not much of a royalist I have to say. Because my culture and my background are from the north and I also have Irish heritage.
“But it means something to everybody and I think certainly at the moment, if there’s one person who embodies what the country stands for, it’s certainly Her Majesty the Queen.
“This is supposed to be a great democracy, and I feel pretty badly let down by elected officials, elected members. So the person that I think in my mind who I see as embodying the greatness of Britain and integrity and honesty and compassion is the queen.”
Bill and Ann Stack, in their 60s, retired veterans
“We’re both ex-veterans. So for us, you know, serving queen and country and seeing her to this stage is absolutely fantastic… what a fantastic envoy she is for the country.
“That’s what makes us great, because at the end of the day, we’ve still got our royalty, we still got a royal family, particularly the queen, and politics will always go on. It’s never a straight line.
“It’s important she’s above all of that, that she stays apolitical. And let’s get on with it. But overall, she’s the constant.”
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