RIP the Queen
Dallas-Fort Worth mourns Queen Elizabeth II, one of its longtime idols, who has died at 96
Queen Elizabeth II, the United Kingdom's longest-serving monarch, died September 8 after reigning for 70 years; she was 96.
Her death was announced via a statement from Buckingham Palace that said, "The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon.”
According to the BBC, doctors placed her under medical supervision after concerns grew about her condition. Family then gathered at Balmoral (her summer residence), including her heirs Prince Charles and Prince William, along with Charles' wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall; and the queen's children Princess Anne, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, and Edward's wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex.
At her death, her eldest son Charles, 73, immediately became His Majesty the King Charles III. He said in a statement: "We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world."
Her death reverberates not only around the world but also in Dallas-Fort Worth, which has a long historical accord with all things British, dating back to the U.K.'s longtime infatuation with the TV show Dallas, which attracted many Brits to Dallas and vice versa. The Queen and her husband, Prince Philip, visited North Texas in 1991.
Dallas-Fort Worth seemed especially beholden to the Queen in the past year, whether it was celebrating her via high-society events or parties marking her landmark reign.
When the Crystal Charity Ball came back to life after the pandemic in 2021, it chose a theme "Peace, Love, London" to revive Dallas' grandest gala back from its darkest year. Chairwoman Leslie Diers' event took attendees across the pond with all the best British things: Union Jack flags, costumed Queen's Guards, and a vibrant portrait of Queen Elizabeth, as well as a piped-in trumpet salute and orchestral rendition of "God Save the Queen" that made guests feel as though they were arriving at the palace.
This year's Mad Hatter's Tea Party took place April 20, one day before Queen Elizabeth's 96th birthday, making the annual event it seem like a royal party.
That same week, on April 28, British Emporium, DFW's favorite British shop in Grapevine, celebrated their own 30-year anniversary as well as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's long and glorious 70-year reign with a regal afternoon of cars and corgis. The pet of choice since the queen was a child, corgis held a special place in the celebration, with corgi owners encouraged to bring their dogs in costume — whether it be British-themed, royal family-themed, or otherwise.
And numerous local venues celebrated the Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee, throwing special parties to mark the Queen's "happy and glorious" 70-year reign — a tenure achieved by no other British monarch, from brunch at the Londoner Pub to Royal Tea at The French Room to a special trifle served at Fish & Fizz, owned by native Brits Nick and Kelly Barclay.
In 2020, the Dallas Museum of Art League chose a royal theme for its annual Art in Bloom fundraiser, one of the top galas of the year. Called "A Royal Affair," it featured guest speaker Shane Connolly, who did the floral design for Prince Charles' wedding to the Duchess of Cornwall (aka Camilla), and served as artistic director for Prince William and Kate Middleton’s 2011 wedding-watched-round-the-world.
A Dallas women's shelter was also the beneficiary of royal kindness in 2021 when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex provided Genesis Women's Shelter & Support, a domestic violence shelter and support agency, with a new roof following damages sustained from Winter Storm Uri. News reached Prince Harry and Meghan nee Markle, who lent a financial hand through their nonprofit Archewell Foundation.
Earlier this year, Prince Harry was spotted at a rodeo in the Fort Worth Stockyards.
On the afternoon of the Queen's death — while mourners at Buckingham Palace gates sang "God Save the Queen" under a shimmering double rainbow — North Texans shared their own tributes.
At the British Emporium, a book of condolences for customers to sign went on display Thursday. It will remain there for several days until it is sent to Buckingham Palace, a spokesman says.
"As to other plans, I’m sure we will do something; we just don’t know yet," he says. "Today we just want to be a place where people can come and gather with others and mourn together."
Fort Worth artist Nancy Lamb posted on Facebook a photo of her 2012 painting of Queen Elizabeth called Royal Crown Neat. It will be going on display at Love Texas Art gallery in downtown Fort Worth this week as tribute to the Queen, and can be viewed on Fall Gallery Night, Saturday, September 10.
Lamb shared the little-known backstory with CultureMap:
It started with Malcolm Warner, who was the interim director for the Kimbell before Eric Lee came. He had told our friends that he wanted a painting done of himself and he wanted me to do it. So I thought that was may be a good idea, and since he was English, I added the queen and Prince Philip in it just for fun. But I had always wanted to paint her crown, too, which was amazing. It took me a month or two to paint that crown. In the end, it became more about the Queen than Malcolm Warner for sure. I have adored her forever, and always love those crowns. I was told it had been shown to her by a friend of his, so I know she actually got to see it!
And Dallas-based chef Darren McGrady, who served as Royal Chef to Queen Elizabeth and later Princess Diana, tweeted a condolence and then a zinger.
"Rest In Peace Your Majesty. Thank you for your service. And thank you for letting me cook for you for eleven years. Memories I will hold dear forever," he tweeted.
Then he followed with, "I know, I know, It's wrong to say or even think this, but I can't get it off my mind. Had things gone to plan, Princess Diana would have been Queen Diana today."
The British Royal family has now entered a period of mourning, BBC says, and in coming days, much of national life will be put on hold. A state funeral is expected in the next two weeks.