Our Photographer, Alex Edwards, was on campus in the aftermath of Queen Elizabeth’s death, here’s what he found out:
by Alex Edwards, The Gown’s Photographer.
Formed in 1845 during the reign of Queen Victoria, along with the Queens University of Ireland, Queen’s University Belfast has a long link with the monarchy.
In 1953 as part of the coronation tour Elizabeth II paid her first visit to the university. Throughout her 70-year reign she paid other visits, most recently in 2008 celebrating the Universities 100th Birthday.
Today I was in the new Student’s Union building, finding out what current students thought about the news.
There was more mention of shock and surprise among the people I spoke to. Even those that weren’t fans of the monarchy said that they were surprised and spoke of how she was a part of British culture.
One of the students I spoke to was cooking when she heard the news. She hadn’t heard that the Queen was unwell, so it was a surprise when her friend told her.
Some spoke of her more as a person, mentioning her position as mother and grandmother.
Crossing the road to the Lanyon Building, I climbed the steps to the Hamilton Drawing Room where the book of condolences was. In the sacredly silent room, the book was set out beneath a portrait of the Queen.
Speaking to those who came in to sign the book, there was a feeling of shock and surprise. Signatures ranged from students to faculty members, and from Belfast natives to those who had came from places as far away as Australia.
There was some positivity about our new monarch Charles as I went round the campus, with hope that his university background would allow him to better relate to students. Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation tour took her to Queen’s, so there’s a chance that if he follows in her footsteps, it could be quite a literal “we’ll see.”