‘Not just a queen’: Southern Utahns, dignitaries reflect on life, impact of Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II and President George W. Bush greet children during Her Majesty's visit to the White House, May 7, 2007 | National Archives photo, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — As the world reacts to the death of Queen Elizabeth II, among the mourners are longtime Cedar City residents Roger and Patricia Jones, who are natives of Great Britain and have dual citizenship in the U.K. and the U.S.

Queen Elizabeth II inspects the troops during a visit to the White House in May 2007 | Photo courtesy of U.S. State Department, St. George News

The Joneses told Cedar City News on Thursday evening that they had already received numerous calls and emails throughout the day from friends expressing condolences about British monarch Queen Elizabeth II, who died Thursday at age 96 after reigning for more than 70 years.

The couple flew their British “Union Jack” flag in front of their home throughout the day on Thursday in honor of the queen’s memory. Both Joneses said they remembered when Elizabeth II ascended to the throne in 1952. Roger Jones was 12 and Patricia was 10. 

Roger Jones said he still recalls the fanfare and parades associated with the young queen’s coronation.

“I remember being a 12-year-old, that we had tables all the way down the streets with all the food on them, and we had fancy dress every night, was when she was around,” he said.

Patricia Jones said she has always appreciated Elizabeth’s human side.

“What really stands out in my mind is that she was not just a queen,” she said. “She was a mother. She had four children. And she was even criticized for having the fourth one. I always remember that.”

“What mother likes to have the dirty wash in the headlines of every paper?” Patricia Jones added.

Even so, she said, Elizabeth always strove to keep herself above reproach.

A British flag flies in front of the Cedar City home of Roger and Patricia Jones, as a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, Cedar City, Utah, Sept. 8, 2022 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

“She’s like you and me, except that she was raised with certain protocols,” Patricia Jones added. “Prince Charles, King Charles now, here, his mother dies today. Tomorrow, he has to appear throughout … he’s asked to go to Scotland and Ireland and Wales and be this brave … you know, they’re not even given time to mourn.”

“She also loved her racehorses and her dogs, her corgis,” Roger Jones added of the queen.

Roger Jones then recited a quote from Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice,” which he said is apropos to the situation:

The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath,” he said, quoting the character Portia, who is pleading for mercy from Shylock. “It is enthroned in the hearts of kings; It is an attribute to God himself. And earthly power doth then show likest God’s, when mercy seasons justice.

Utahns joined with many others around the world in expressing their condolences and paying tribute to the queen.

As Utah Gov. Spencer J. Cox retweeted the official announcement of the Queen’s passing, he added his own remarks: “For more than 70 years, Queen Elizabeth II served her people with strength, grace, and unwavering dedication. She will be missed. Our prayers go out to the Royal Family and to the people of the Commonwealth.”

Cox has also authorized the U.S. flag and the flag of the state of Utah to be lowered to the half-staff in the queen’s honor. Flags should be lowered immediately until sunset on the day of her interment. Private citizens and businesses are encouraged to participate as well. 

Utah Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson tweeted, “She may have been small in stature, but Queen Elizabeth II was a giant on the world stage. She leaves a remarkable legacy of service, duty, and steady leadership. Gabe and I send our love and condolences to the people of Great Britain.”

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also issued a statement saying, “The United Kingdom and the people of the world have lost a noble monarch with the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. She presided through seven decades, in times of peace and conflict, plenty and struggle, and did so with characteristic grace and goodness.”

“The First Presidency, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints express admiration and respect for the Queen and extend our sincere condolences to her family and her people at this tender time,” the church’s statement added.

According to The White House, President Joe Biden said: “Queen Elizabeth II led always with grace, an unwavering commitment to duty, and the incomparable power of her example.  She was a stateswoman of unmatched dignity and constancy who deepened the bedrock Alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States.”

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2022, all rights reserved.

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