In the streets of Sydney they laid flowers, in California they lit candles. Honiarians have replaced their Facebook profiles with pictures of Her Majesty, their “protector of the people”.
Flags flew at half mast in Honolulu. The Eiffel Tower has turned off its lights. The sails of the Sydney Opera House will be illuminated. And above Buckingham Palace, two rainbows emerged.
The remarkable span of Queen Elizabeth II’s life spanned from the great to the less glorious, from Churchill to Ceaușescu, from Mandela to Mugabe. But much of her lasting legacy will lie in the tens of thousands of calmer lives she touched during her reign.
As news of his death spread, personal tributes were paid across the world.
On the Mall in London, a phalanx of black cabs formed an impromptu honor guard. “Liz is a girl from London,” said 26-year-old taxi driver Michael Ackerman, “she’s one of yours, she’s one of us.”
The late monarch was born 96 years earlier less than a mile away, in her grandparents’ Mayfair home. Late afternoon in London, as crowds gathered outside the gates of Buckingham Palace, a double rainbow briefly flashed above the crowd.
The news also spread to the farthest corners of the monarch’s realm.
Eleven thousand kilometers away, the premier of Aotearoa-New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, was awakened by a police officer’s light in her room before five in the morning.
After going to bed reading about the queen’s poor health, “when that torch came into my room, I knew immediately what it meant,” Ardern said. “I am deeply sad.”
In the country’s official book of condolences, Ardern thanked the Queen for her “life of service”. She followed the words with the Maori proverb “he kotuku rerenga tahi”, which translates to “the flight of a white heron is only seen once”. It refers to a rare event, and the comparison is an honor.
New Zealand radio host Mike Hosking broke down in tears on air, discussing the Queen’s death. He had previously professed his love for the Queen: “She could be the greatest representative of most of our lives in terms of devotion, consistency and loyalty”.
In Sydney, the sails of the city’s Harbor Opera House will be lit up for two nights in honor of the Queen. Paying tribute to the nearby Sydney Government House, Ross Harris said his first memory of the Queen was when she and Prince Philip visited her primary school in Tasmania in 1977.
“During their visit, Prince Philip remarked, ‘What a cold, happy place you live in.’
“Whether you love the monarchy or hate the monarchy, you can’t take away the fact that these are all people who were born into this. They make the most of this situation; they set an example for others in terms of working and giving to others.
In India, MP and former diplomat Shashi Tharoor – who wrote the anti-imperial polemic Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India – paid tribute to the Queen’s personal devotion to duty.
“An era in history ended today. It was bound to happen someday, but it’s still hard to escape a sense of disbelief. RIP Queen Elizabeth.
In Hong Kong, some took to social media on Friday to mourn the affectionately dubbed “patron lady” among older residents in a city that was one of Britain’s last colonies.
Elizabeth II visited Hong Kong twice during her reign, while her son – who became King Charles III – was present for her handover to China in 1997.
“My grandmother who raised me always spoke of the ‘patron lady’, I heard so much about her that she felt like family…today it’s like a member of family passed away,” Vincent Lam wrote.
When the Queen first set foot in the Solomon Islands, she was given the appellation Fau Ni Qweraasi, meaning “the protector of a people” by a former leader. Flags of the Solomon Islands, where the Queen was head of state, flew at half mast on Friday, and many on Facebook changed their profile picture to images of the Queen.
But the queen’s passing was mourned beyond the borders of the ancient empire she represented.
Outside the Ye Olde King’s Head pub in Santa Monica, California, Gregg Donovan has set up a small shrine to the monarch, filled with candles, roses and a framed official portrait.
Donovan, who met the Queen, told the Press Association: ‘She was so kind and gracious, and it’s a sad day all over the world.
“America loves the Queen…and where I work in Hollywood people were shocked, British tourists were crying in the streets.”
At the Rose Tree Cottage English Teahouse in Pasadena, California, Brecken Armstrong was moved to tears amid memories of Her Majesty. Armstrong and her husband Martin said they admired the Queen’s strong and positive female lead. “The world has become more masculine,” Martin said.
Across the continental United States, Times Square in New York projected the image of a smiling queen, while the Empire State Building lit up after sunset in purple and silver to honor her life and legacy. .
The building of the Tel Aviv Municipality was illuminated with a union flag in tribute.
In Berlin, flowers and candles were laid outside the British Embassy, while in Venice, God Save the Queen was performed outside the Italian city’s festival buildings.
The Christ the Redeemer statue, overlooking Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, was lit up in red, white and blue.
But beyond formal and official acknowledgments, in many parts of the former British Empire – India, the Pacific, Africa and the Caribbean – public outpourings have been stifled.
In Jamaica, Leslie Henriques said the Queen’s death “really means nothing to me”.
“Let’s hope he [King Charles III] it’s over with the monarchy. We no longer need kings and queens.
The Queen was the most traveled of all heads of state in the world. She has visited all Commonwealth countries except Cameroon, which only joined in 1995, and Rwanda in 2009.
She has visited Canada 22 times, Australia 16, New Zealand 10 and Jamaica six.
With AFP, PA. Additional reporting by Natasha May, Stephanie Convery, Georgina Maka’a and Charlotte Graham-McLay