By David Wilkening, Contributing Writer
BOSTON – When Great Britain’s beloved and longest-reigning monarch died at the age of 96, they mourned her not just overseas but also here. Older Massachusetts residents are among those who recall Queen Elizabeth II’s historic visit nearly half a century ago to Boston.
Honoring her life
Strangers in the wake of her death were taking photos of the pew inside Boston’s Old North Church where the queen and her husband, the late Prince Philip, sat when they visited the city for the United States bicentennial celebration in 1976.
“You know, I just felt like a need to want to come and give my personal kind of respects to her passing,” Milton resident Joanne Doherty told MSN. “She meant so much to the world and to the (United Kingdom). I actually was born in London, so I felt a particular pull to come here today.”
At the JFK Library, people stood in line to sign a condolence book for the queen’s family. The British Consulate general office in Cambridge, which maintains relations between the U.K. and the U.S., was closed on the weekend after her death.
They made a condolence book for Queen Elizabeth II available to sign at the Old North Church. According to the consulate, it will deliver that condolence book to Buckingham Palace. Her condolence book was set up to include a picture of Queen Elizabeth II with President John F. Kennedy during a state visit to London in 1963. The library also exhibited a letter the queen wrote to the president in the hopes that he bring his family back for another trip to Great Britain.
First royal visit to Boston
Elizabeth’s father, King George VI, was the first British monarch to visit the U.S., in 1939, but Elizabeth was the first to come to Boston, the starting point of the war that separated the former colony from the crown.
The visit was not without controversy. Protestors at the time demonstrated against the U.K.’s treatment of Ireland on City Hall Plaza.