Condolences received from Epernay:
In the eyes of the world, certain characters embody not only a country, a people, but also an entire era. Queen Elizabeth II imperceptibly connected each of us to vast swaths of British and universal history, from the post-war period which saw her ascend to the throne, to the Covid-19 years when her message of resilience has left its mark, from decolonization to the Thatcher, Blair, and Brexit decades, to Beatles madness and the tragedies of the “year horribilis”.
Head of the British state, endowed with symbolic power but widely respected, she will have witnessed a century of hopes and trials with an inflexible will to accomplish her duty.
Historians will say if the seven decades of the reign of Elizabeth II can be described as the “second Elizabethan era”, by reference to that of the first Queen Elizabeth (1558-1603), marked by artistic revival, prosperity and English power. But the queen who has just disappeared will have achieved a feat: to make people forget the anachronism of the monarchy, to prolong her popularity by adapting it while maintaining the illusion that she is immutable, to rub shoulders with all the prime ministers while maintaining a popularity at piss off the politicians. The ultimate trace of this remarkable strength of character can be read in the reception by the Queen, two days before her death, of the new Prime Minister, Liz Truss.
The shock of Elizabeth II’s disappearance is felt all over the world, especially in the fifteen states of which she was the sovereign, as an additional sign of the end of an era.
With the Queen, the United Kingdom loses an essential and powerful instrument. Elizabeth II addressed political messages through her postures, outfits, dignity or the choice of a word. Above the scrum, it personified their link with the long time of history and the unity of a composite country.
Many French people had a deep respect and admiration for her. The president and members of the Epernay-Jumelages association join me in presenting their sincere condolences.