The lights of the Eiffel Tower went out early Thursday evening in tribute to Queen Elizabeth, with Parisians reminding a British monarch who anchored her country through upheaval with poise and grace longer than many lived.
The 1997 death in Paris of Princess Diana prompted Elizabeth to endure some of the darkest days of her 70 years on the throne, when the palace appeared out of touch with the outpouring of public grief. At the Flame of Liberty monument above the underpass where Diana was killed, some passers-by stopped to remember Britain’s longest-serving monarch.
“She defined Britain,” said optician Salima Gersa. Another woman, Valerie, a museum worker, said Elizabeth’s death marked “the end of an era”, describing her as “an extraordinary woman who saw the world around her crumble”.
Others paid homage to a monarch who remained a symbol of stability and continuity for Britons at a time of relative national economic decline, while adapting the ancient institution of monarchy to the demands of the modern age. “(Her death marks) a tragic moment, but she had a great life and has a great legacy,” said American tourist Greg Shanon.
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