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Hamilton reacts to death of Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II has died at the age of 96, marking the end of her 70‐year reign as the constitutional monarch of the United Kingdom and Canada’s Head of State.

On September 8 at 1:30 p.m., Buckingham Palace released a statement announcing the Queen died peacefully at her Balmoral estate in Scotland, surrounded by family members who were flown to her side earlier that day.

The solemn occasion was marked throughout the world mere moments after the announcement. Flags across Canada and the United Kingdom were lowered to half‐mast as Operation London Bridge – the carefully‐planned procedure for how the British government will act in the days after the Queen’s passing – was set in motion.

A black and white drawn portrait image of a younger Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth II’s reign began on Feb. 6, 1952, only 7 years after the end of WWII

In the hours after her passing, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released a statement on Twitter from a Cabinet retreat in Vancouver.

“It was with the heaviest of hearts that we learned of the passing of Canada’s longest‐reigning sovereign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” Trudeau wrote. “She was a constant presence in our lives – and her service will forever remain an important part of our country’s history.”

For many Canadians, Queen Elizabeth II was the only monarch they had ever known, and the end of the modern Elizabethan era came as a shock. While Canada remains largely removed from the British monarchy in its day‐to‐day procedures, the Queen remained a consistent figurehead in the lives of many Canadians.

“It’s a weird thing to wrap your head around,” said Allison McKinnon, a Hamilton resident. “So many people have just never known a world without a queen, even though she’s an ocean away. It’s jarring to think this person who captured the attention of several generations is gone.”

In Hamilton, flags were lowered to half-mast at City Hall, schools, and other government offices within minutes of the announcement.

“As soon as we heard the news we lowered the flags, but that’s all we are doing for now as we process the news and what this means for Canada,” said Aliah Khan, the communications and media relations advisor to Hamilton mayor Fred Eisenburger. “My advice is to stay tuned and keep an eye on local news and the city website as we announce if there will be any events in Hamilton over the next few days.”

Canada's Parliament building in Ottawa sits under a clear blue sky
Official government responses in Canada will be largely at the discretion of the Prime Minister.

According to the Manual of Official Procedure of the Government of Canada, the Prime Minister must officially announce the Queen’s death to Parliament and make a joint address of loyalty and sympathy to the new Sovereign. A press release must also be issued in The Canada Gazette, the official newspaper of the Canadian Government.

The House of Commons is currently adjourned for the summer and is not scheduled to reconvene until Sept. 19. Ottawa has yet to announce whether members of Parliament can expect to reconvene early in the wake of the Queen’s passing.

Beginning today, Britain will enter an extended period of mourning. The Queen’s funeral is
expected to be televised in the coming days.

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