Alan Shacklock only knows England under the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.
“She’s been my queen all my life,” said the English-born Belmont audio engineering professor.
The death of Queen Elizabeth was felt on Belmont’s campus; students, faculty and staff watched from a distance as the news unfolded on Thursday afternoon of the sovereign’s passing.
“It wasn’t unexpected, but it still made me very sad,” said English professor Dr. Maggie Monteverde.
Dr. Monteverde’s connection to the queen goes back to her many years spent living and traveling across England, and she feels as though she has lost someone special to her.
“I'm surprised at how sad I am,” she said.
She views the queen’s death as the end of a generational era, one that her late father was a part of.
“I'm not one of those people who subscribes to the idea that the World War II generation was the greatest generation,” she said. “But there is a sense that that's an era has kind of come to a close.”
Queen Elizabeth led her county and other Commonwealth states for over 70 years. The Washington Post reports that nine in 10 people alive today were born after she became queen.
Shacklock speaks of his queen with profound respect. He believes that she held her role with loyalty, grace and honor.
“I do think we should celebrate her reign because I think it’s an unbelievable feat,” he said.
He remembers the time right after Princess Diana’s death and feels as though there will be the same amount of mourning and grief for the queen in the days to come.
“There’s going to be unbelievable honoring,” he said.
Amid the mourning, the monarchy will go on with King Charles leading the way.
Filling the queen’s shoes is deemed to be a daunting task, and opinions of his character make it difficult for both Shacklock and Dr. Monteverde to have complete faith in his reign.
“I think there’s going to be very mixed feelings about [King Charles],” said Shacklock. “He’s kind of a little bit crazy. It’s the way it is. It’s just the genealogical line. And it must fall to him.”
Dr. Monteverde does not foresee the same admiration for the king that there was for the queen.
“I don't think he'll ever have the kind of personal devotion that a lot of people had to the queen,” she said.
Senior Olivia Walker spent a month in London and recalls how the English were always incredibly careful with their words when they spoke of Queen Elizabeth.
“Anytime you talked to somebody about the queen, they always started and ended their sentence with ‘God Save the Queen,’” she said.
She said it almost felt as though if they did not say it, it might be their fault when her final day came.
“They were always careful,” she said.
The talk-of-the-town while she was abroad was the prime minister election. Walker said that no one around her was even thinking about the queen’s health.
“It wasn’t really on anyone’s minds that the queen was going to die,” she said. “They were all focused on the prime minister.”
Looking back on her time abroad, she finds it eerie how the last time the queen was seen alive was when she met newly elected Prime Minister Liz Truss.
“It’s interesting how those things happened back-to-back.” Walker said
The royals have, as Dr. Monteverde said, remained a constant in the lives of many under Her Majesty’s reign. While the world around has twisted and turned in the hands of time, one fact that people could always count on was that there was the Queen of England.
Now, a new constant must emerge.
“It’s a symbol of something that even a lot of people who are not supporters of the monarchy recognize that in England, it has served a role for them of granting a kind of unity that is beyond the political realm,” she said.
“I think that perhaps the greatest thing that [the monarchy] has given to England is that sense of consistency.”
The death of Queen Elizabeth lingers into the coming days.
While some grieve and others feel indifferent, this historical event marks the end of the longest reigning monarch in English history.
“I’m really proud of her,” said Shacklock, “and I’m proud to be British under that.”
PHOTO: Alan Shacklock Lilly Owens/ Belmont Vision
This article was written by Lilly Owens. Contributory reporting by Sarah Maninger and Raa'd Feras Abualrob.