The Empire State Building will shine purple tonight in memory of the late Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II, the longest reigning monarch in British history, passed away earlier today at Balmoral at the age of 96.

Queen Elizabeth II at the Empire State Building
Photograph: Courtesy of the Empire State Building

As countries around the world mourn this great loss, New York City officials have decided to honor the late Queen the best way they know how: by lighting the Empire State Building, an iconic local landmark, in purple and sparkle in silver in celebration of the life and legacy of Her Majesty.

“Upon her accession in 1952, Queen Elizabeth II Queen Elizabeth II became a beloved leader and, in 1957, made her way to the top of the Empire State Building,” reads an official press release. “This year on June 4, 2022, the United Kingdom celebrated the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and the Empire State Building lit its tower in celebration of her 70-year legacy.” Tonight, the skyscraper will once again boast the colors of the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

According to the History Channel, the color purple is generally associated with the “upper crust” of society, including kings and queens, because, “to harvest it, dye-makers had to crack open [a rare] snail’s shell, extract a purple-producing mucus and expose it to sunlight for a precise amount of time.” Think of it as an ancient case of supply and demand.

Starting dusk, New Yorkers will be able to look up at a lit-up Empire State Building and, perhaps, say a little prayer for the Queen’s family. May she rest in peace.

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