They are about fifteen, no more, to have sat down this Monday a little before noon at Frog & Rosbif, famous chain of British pubs with an evocative name, to follow the funeral of Elizabeth II live on the BBC. In recent days, the Frog of 2e arrondissement of Paris has received the same call several times: Are you going to attend the ceremony? More accustomed to broadcasting sporting events in the original version than funerals, the establishment wanted to respond to demand.
The pub, one of the few to open in continuous service from noon, has even advanced its opening by half an hour so as not to miss the first quarter of an hour of the Queen’s last trip. And yet, there are no crowds.
“Since Brexit, anyway, we have fewer British customers. And then, if this day is a public holiday in the United Kingdom, it is not here. You have to be able to free yourself on a Monday,” analyzes the manager. Among the few present, no great outpourings. Rather a monastic atmosphere, of circumstance.
“It’s the end of an era, it’s almost unreal”
In the front row, Janet Turner, 56, wears the flag of the United Kingdom in a scarf around her neck. On her handbag also we find the Union Jack. A Londoner who has lived in France for thirty years, she seriously thought about returning to her country for the event. Yesterday, she even packed her suitcase before changing her mind. “I was afraid that it would be a little excessive on my part or that it would upset me a little too much. » She preferred to remember the memory of the platinum jubilee, for which she had traveled to Buckingham Palace last June.
However, this English teacher who spent her life in Marly-le-Roi, in the Yvelines, did not see herself being alone on this very special day. After a quick search on the internet, she stumbles upon this pub which does the trick for anyone who simply wanted to have a pint, eat a fish and chips and meet fellow countrymen. ” The queen was truly unique, she will never be matched. It’s his life that should be celebrated sums up the Briton who ultimately feels more inspired than bereaved.
“She accompanied us all in life”: in front of Buckingham, disoriented Britons
“It’s an opportunity to reflect on our lives, since the Queen has always been a part of it,” confirms Jane, a 58-year-old Englishwoman from Suffolk. With her colleague Sheenagh, 59, they passed by by chance, on their way to Gare du Nord where they have to board a Eurostar which will take them home during the day: “It’s probably the worst time in British history to travel but it was planned that way. » Jane, overcome by emotion as soon as the national anthem sounds, already knows that she will watch the replay of the ceremony when she is alone at home. “It’s the end of an era, it’s almost unreal. »
Paris-born Sheenagh, looking chic in her perfectly cut floral jacket, believes the English have a gift for this kind of ceremony, but she’s not sure if it will survive the period of change that is sweeping the country. . “There was Brexit, we have a new Prime Minister… that’s a lot. »
The crown, on TV since 1952
A few tables away, seated in front of a club sandwich, her gaze turned towards the television screen, Hannah, 35, feels the emotion rising within her. She is the first surprise. ” I’ve been abroad for thirteen years, but at times like these I feel far from my countryexplains this Englishwoman from Yorkshire (in the northeast of England) with perfect French. My grandmother grew up with the queen, I’m sure my whole family is watching the ceremony there today. » If it had been a royal wedding, and not a funeral, Hannah would surely have invited some friends to her house for the occasion. But today, the event is a little too sinister.
In London, after the death of Elizabeth II: “She’s been there all my life, how can she disappear…”
She simply messaged an English friend, who was unavailable. Hannah didn’t want to be alone either. She is also a little disappointed to see that no one talks with her neighbor in the bar. Faced with the images of the BBC, she feels in empathy with the relatives of the queen, who must “live their mourning live on television in front of the whole world, the poor”. Indeed, from births to bereavements and coronations, the British royal family has been exposing its intimacy on television in front of the whole world since 1952, the date of the coronation of Elizabeth II. 277 million viewers then followed the event live.
Moreover, this Monday, there is also a table of New Yorkers who do not take their eyes off the screen on which the queen’s coffin advances. Arriving yesterday from the United States, the four tourists are among those who phoned the pub to make sure they could watch the ceremony live.
“The world does not know many figures like her”, sighs Maryann, fifty years old, brown hair with dynamic curls. It was she who guided the group so far. She is fascinated by the royal family, knows the United Kingdom well and has worked for a British company for several years. “I admire the way she dedicated her life to her country, she kept her promise. » To be sure to be able to watch the ceremony once back home, Maryann scheduled a recording from her home in the United States.
“What has she done for us?” “: in London, there are the Queen’s fans and then the others