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FranceInfo, French people of the world: “Great Britain, farewell to the Queen”

It was in a fine rain, typical of London, that on the evening of Thursday, September 8, the crowd began to lay thousands of bouquets of flowers in tribute to the sovereign Elizabeth II, who died a few hours earlier, at Balmoral in Scotland.

Originally from Barneville-Carteret in Normandy, Nathalie Augé is a French teacher at an adult college in Covent Garden, a district of London, and the news shook her: “I had tears in my eyes when I found out, she confesses. I have been in England for 33 years and have become attached to this woman. We wanted to respect her for what she did. You may not be a monarchist, I’m a republican, I’m a French woman, but I respected a lot what she did for her country, it gave a sense of continuity.

Elizabeth II will therefore have been in power for seven decades, a record for longevity on the British throne. Nathalie Augé adds: “I listened to a conversation with a woman in the street who said: ‘Do you realize that I only knew her, 70 years old, but since her husband died, we could see that she was going down’. That lasted until its anniversary, and I think the English expected it without expecting it. They had difficulty in perceiving that she might leave them, but at the same time we saw her becoming more and more frail. And since the departure of her husband , she has participated less.”

Succeed without disappointing

Elizabeth II ascended the throne in 1952, at the age of 25. Revered by the British people, leader of the armies of the United Kingdom, the Queen has crossed the ages and left some traces in the families. “I have one of my colleagues who told me: my middle name is Elizabeth”reports Nathalie Augé. Many little girls were named Elizabeth as a tribute to the Queen, so she was very present indeed.”

It was his son, Charles III, who became King of the United Kingdom, at the age of 73, with the challenge of succeeding without disappointing. A complex, sensitive and often mocked figure, determined from birth to reign, but remained in the antechamber of the throne and in the shadow of his mother for decades. In any case, it is a radical change, assures the Frenchman: “Charles is a completely different character from his mother. He is someone who made headlines about certain things. But at the same time he is a very intelligent man, perhaps a little more modern than his mother. We turn a page. Charles, that’s a bit of a question mark.

The grand funeral of Elizabeth II will therefore take place next Monday, September 19, exactly eight days from now in Westminster Abbey in London. Until then, time will stand still. Numerous sporting events as well as fashion shows planned for next week on the occasion of Fashion week London, has been postponed. Rail and postal workers have suspended their planned strikes to decry the cost of living. Read and listen to the chronicle here

Interview conducted by Julien Langlet

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