In New York’s Times Square, dubbed the “crossroads of the world”, many Americans paid tributes to Queen Elizabeth II in the hours after news of her death was announced.
It was, many said, a momentous day for them as citizens of a country that they felt still had close bonds with the United Kingdom, and more profoundly, an opportunity to express admiration for a political figure Americans saw as having devoted her life to her family and service to her country.
America has long severed its current links to the British crown, via a successful revolution, but the British royals have been seen fondly in the country – largely as celebrities. The sentiments expressed by throngs of tourists and locals in the heart of Manhattan were overwhelmingly respectful.
“I feel sad because she seemed to care a lot for her people,” said Katrina Hildebrandt from Indianapolis, Indiana. “She represented tradition, an older time that’s going to be lost, and I feel she was a strong spiritual influence on a nation that will be missed.”
“The royals are kind of mysterious to us, but she was a presence that had been with us our entire lives, so that’s a lot,” her husband Rob said.
Another couple, Gina Light and Timmy Rawerts, said they were both saddened. “I thought the Queen was the most class act I’ve ever seen and the monarchy will suffer with her death de ella,” Rawerts said.
Light added: “We followed her life and she always had such grace. We will miss her.”
“I honestly thought she’d make [it] to her hundreds,” said Shanira Delgado. “She represented elegance and I found it very inspiring to have a woman who was so high-powered because everything over here is about the men.”
Her partner, Oscar Daniels Zapata-Volkmar, said he recognized how momentous it was for Britain to lose a woman present in public life for close to a century.
“Ninety-six is quite a feat for any person, but for all the things she went through – from the war to the things [in the United Kingdom] .. on a political-scale worldwide, it’s unreal. I feel for you guys – I know it’s going to shake up a lot of things,” he said.
Further down on 7th Avenue, Josiah Abraham and Demetri Rose said they admired the British Queen as a symbol of female power.
“She held a role as a strong female, the proverbial reference you go [to] when you think of high-class. She was a cool front to feminine authority and you don’t see a lot of countries that pay high regard to symbolic female leaders,” Abraham said.
Rose added: “It’s still a patriarchy here and she was a strong representation of [a] matriarchal society.”
Other women also spoke of a sense of affinity with the Queen and her power. “She She was great. She represented that women can do what they want when they put their mind to it. Women are powerful too,” said Jeannette Jackson from California. A man added that he had nothing but admiration and hoped that the Queen’s sons and descendants would be able to do as well as she had.
A cop declined to discuss the Queen. “I have a lot of Irish in me, if you get my drift.”
Some drew attention to the Queen’s sense of style.
“She was a global icon, and they’ll never be another. It’s shocking and sad, but she’s lived good years and did good for the world, ”said Andre Purdy, in town for fashion week.
To his side, in a gold-fringed hat that resembled a crown, Keerah Yeowang said she felt the Queen was one of the few people that she always thought would be around. “We knew her health was on the decline, but it’s still a shock.”
Stephanie Shultz, a couture designer, said only: “Nobody wore hats like she did. That’s all I’m saying. Bring the hats back, people.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism