What’s Reawakened Grief – And Why Did It Make Queen Elizabeth II’s Funeral Hard To Watch?

Nearly half the country has ‘shed a tear’ for the late Queen according to YouGov…

queen grief

by Lydia Spencer-Elliott |
Updated on

After Buckingham Palace announced that Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning monarch of Britain’s history, died on Thursday 8 September, it was revealed nearly half the country had ‘shed a tear’ for the 96-year-old according to a YouGov poll. As such, many of us have found the Queen's funeral emotionally intense — and that's okay.

Though the Queen missed several public engagement due to ill health in recent months, the loss of our monarch still came as a collective shock that brought about feelings of disorientation and distress to the forefront of our thoughts. The National Bereavement Alliance has warned that many of us may be experiencing ‘reawakened grief’ after Queen Elizabeth II’s death: ‘During times of public mourning, feelings of private grief or personal bereavements often come to the surface,’ they said. ‘This can feel surprising or confusing, but it is very normal.’

Reawakened grief often occurs when there’s a big ending in our lives. Maybe the end of a relationship, friendship, the end of a job or, in this case, when a long-standing public figure who has always stood for peace and unity amid the chaos suddenly vanishes from our lives.

As we’re confronted with TV and radio broadcasts of vigils for the late Queen Elizabeth II, alongside footage of intense public mourning on a national and global scale, our own personal memories of loss can be remembered, and our grief reawakened.

‘When death and dying is in the news, it can trigger feelings about your own experiences,’ says Cruse, the UK’s leading bereavement charity. ‘Knowing others around you are feeling sad might give you “permission” to grieve and think about your personal experiences.’

When Princess Diana died in 1997, an estimated three million people lined the streets on the day of her funeral and it was the first time that many people had seen grief discussed at a national level. Although re-awakened and collective grief can be confusing because we didn’t personally know the person we’re mourning, it allows for many to have a rare and open conversation about loss.

If you’re experiencing reawakened or collective grief for Queen Elizabeth II, it’s important to remember that your emotions are justified. This period of national mourning can allow us to process our current or historic feelings of loss openly with the support of those around us.

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