Around 1.30 pm yesterday, Buckingham Palace tweeted that Queen Elizabeth II had died.
The tweet simply read: “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”
But those 26 words reverberated around the world.
While the news of Queen Elizabeth II’s death was not wholly unexpected, it was still somewhat of a shock globally, since she had been a rock for all of her lifetime.
Britain’s longest-serving monarch died at age 96 after seven decades of reign.
The Queen’s life spanned longer than independent T&T.
More importantly, the Queen formed somewhat of a bond with this country, having officially visited here on three occasions.
The first time Queen Elizabeth II touched T&T shores was in February 1966, more than three years after the Union Jack was lowered and the red, white and black T&T National Flag was hoisted for the first time in its place.
There are images of the Queen with this country’s first Prime Minister, Dr Eric Williams, and our then-Governor General Sir Solomon Hochoy.
The Queen was said to have been amazed by a Carnival display put on especially for her visit then.
“The Queen sees mas’: Real thing must be fabulous, she says” was the T&T Guardian headline for that visit.
Some 20 years later, in 1985, the Queen returned to our shores as part of a ten-island Caribbean tour.
And the last time Queen Elizabeth came here was in 2009, when this country hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
During that visit, she wore a white evening gown with this country’s national birds, the Scarlet Ibis and the Cocrico, as well the Chaconia embroidered on it.
Queen Elizabeth II’s death comes just over one week after this country celebrated our 60th anniversary of Independence.
No matter what we may think of Queen Elizabeth II, her life is intertwined with those of many people here.
Our major green spot, the Queen’s Park Savannah, the very location where the prominent Independence Day celebrations are conducted, is named after her. There are several other major public spaces in her name.
And after 70 years of sitting on the throne, Queen Elizabeth II’s absence leaves a void that may not soon be filled.
Indeed, it can easily be said that the monarchy will not be the same after her passing yesterday.
This newspaper joins the global village in celebrating the Queen’s life and paying tribute to her longevity.
While her ascension to the throne was somewhat surprising after the death of her father when she was only 25, her son has been the king in training for quite some time.
At age 73, King Charles III comes to the throne.
It is no exaggeration to say he has some big shoes to fill.
The Queen is now dead, long live the King.