New Yorkers with ties to the United Kingdom are struggling to come to terms with the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Irene Donnelly was, like most days, working at Myers of Keswick — a food store in the West Village’s “Little Britain” that cooks and imports British food — when she heard the news that the longest-reigning monarch had passed away. Taking a deep breath, she made the tragic announcement to shoppers.
“I can still feel the vibrations of that, you know, I’m still kind of reeling from this, trying to process the whole thing,” Donnelly told amNewYorkMetro. “I will never forget this, it’s huge, absolutely huge.”
Donnelly was born in Dublin, Ireland but moved to New York after she married a Brooklynite in 2006. Working in Myers of Keswick gives her sense of comfort now that she lives far from her place of birth. However, there is very little that can give her solace following the death of a Queen that had always been there.
“I was shocked. The last picture I saw of the Queen she looked well. You assumed she was gonna be okay. And then this morning to hear that, you know, she’s not doing well, which is a huge understatement and then hours later passed away–it’s shocking,” Donnelly said.
Flocks of New Yorkers with ties to Great Britain descended on the modest store to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth. Workers decorated the windows with portraits of the Queen and the royal family as passersby stopped to snap photos.
Although Elizabeth Ferrell is an American, the news hit her particularly hard, causing her to sob. Ferrell lived in London for several years during the early 2000s with her husband and two daughters, a time she described as amazing.
“We saw the Queen actually. She was going by for some occasion in an open carriage. And we waved at her and she was waving to the crowd. And so that was kind of a personal moment,” Ferrell recalled. “I have to say I got a little teary eyed when I got the news.”
Friends Lil O’Brien, Rylie Morgan, Molly Doncaster, and Annie Gee also banded together to pay their respects to the woman who had reigned over 70 years. Having lived in England for a brief spell, Doncaster and Gee decided to purchase some of their favorite snacks and hold a toast to the Queen.
“We were devastated,” Morgan said. “It’s like one of those times that you’ll know where you were when you heard about the queen. It’s a moment in history, no matter what country you’re from,” O’Brien added.
New Yorkers in office also grieved for what is being seen around the globe as a monumental loss. Mayor Eric Adams ordered flags on all city buildings to be lowered to half-staff as he too said he is joining in mourning the monarch.
“It is with sadness that I learned of the passing of her majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She was committed to a life of service which impacted many. She was a global force who will be remembered for her reign of 70 years. Our deepest condolences to the Royal Family, the people of the United Kingdom, and the Commonwealth,” Mayor Adams said.
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.