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Wednesday December 7th

North Carolinians sign book of condolences after queen's death, to be sent to royal family

Elizabeth Ballou of Wake Forest pays her respects at the Capital Building in Raleigh, NC on September 16th, 2022
Buy Photos Elizabeth Ballou of Wake Forest pays her respects at the Capital Building in Raleigh, NC on September 16th, 2022

Many North Carolinians paid their respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II  this week at the North Carolina State Capitol Building. 

The royal family announced the queen had died peacefully at Balmoral Castle, her summer residence in Scotland, in a press release on Sept. 8. 

"We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished sovereign and much-loved mother," King Charles III said in a press release. "I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world."

In response to her death, Gov. Roy Cooper ordered a public book of condolences to be placed inside the State Capitol and invited all North Carolinians to offer personal reflections upon the queen's life. 

The book of condolences was placed within the Capitol Rotunda from Sept. 12 to Sept. 17 and was open to public signatures. Cooper said he will send the book to the British royal family on behalf of the people of North Carolina.

“Queen Elizabeth led with unparalleled dignity over seven decades of a rapidly changing world,” Cooper said in a Sept. 9 press release. “North Carolina is proud of our close relationship with the people of Great Britain and we mourn the loss of an extraordinary leader.”

Additionally, all United States and North Carolina flags at the Capitol were flown at half-staff until the end of the day of the queen’s interment, per Cooper’s instructions. 

“The example of the queen’s grace and dignity is something that I want my children and their children to know," Betsy Tyler, an 86-year-old Raleigh resident who signed the book, said. 

Tyler said the queen was the epitome of grace and elegance, and she handled obstacles well. 

Terra Schramm, site administrator at the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources for the N.C. Capitol State Building, said she oversees the visitation of the condolence book. She said she was surprised by the initial volume of North Carolinians of all ages coming to pay their respects to the queen.

“Being able to see the volume of people who are coming in and feeling touched by the queen’s legacy is a really unique part of my job in handling public visitation at the Capitol," Schramm said. 

Schramm also explained the North Carolina chapter of the Daughters of the British Empire donated a wreath and assisted in organizing the condolence book event. 

During Cooper’s term, both President George H.W. Bush and Rev. Billy Graham also received public books of condolences, according to the press release.

Schramm added that after watching the public respond to multiple condolence books, she saw them as a way for the public to come together and interact with history.

Rev. Clarke French said the death of the queen hit "close to home." Originally from Canada, French lives in Chapel Hill with his family, all of whom are Commonwealth citizens. 

He said there are many citizens from Commonwealth countries in the Triangle. The news hit close to home for those who have known the queen as their only monarch. 

French also said he was personally devastated and, in some ways, did not expect the queen to die as she had been ruling for so many years. He was quite surprised at the speed at which her health declined.

French said he felt the condolence book was an appropriate way for people to do something in a time of shock and sadness, and that he was glad the governor decided to make that gesture.

@DTHCityState | 

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