By Michelle Talsma Everson
Photos Courtesy of Kathy Lund

On Sept. 8, the world turned its eyes to Scotland as Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom (U.K.) passed away at Balmoral Castle, the royal family’s summer residence in Scotland. While the historic event happened a world away, one Peoria resident was in Scotland visiting her daughter when the news broke.

England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland are all part of the U.K., which Queen Elizabeth reigned over for 70 years and 214 days. Her reign was the longest of any British monarch, the longest recorded of any female head of state in history, and the second-longest verified reign of any monarch in history.

“Her Majesty the Queen was bound to Scotland by ties of ancestry, affection and duty,” according to the National Records of Scotland. “She was descended from the Royal House of Stewart on both sides of her family. Her relationship with Scotland and the Scots began in childhood and deepened during her many private as well as official visits throughout the seven decades of her reign.”
According to the Royal Family’s official website, the Queen visited Scotland each year for both business and vacation. “Scotland has played such a very special part in our lives, and that of my family, over the years and we have greatly enjoyed our frequent visits,” she said once.

Kathy Lund, a Peoria resident and director of business systems at Great Hearts Academies, was visiting her daughter, a Great Hearts Glendale Prep graduate, in Scotland when the news was announced. Her daughter received her master’s in Architectural Conservation from the University of Edinburgh and still resides in Scotland.

“We were traveling to the Ornkey Islands and received a text that the Queen had died,” Lund says. “My husband, daughter, and I were in shock. As time went on, and mourning continued, flowers lined the streets and shops were closed. It felt as if people were in shock that she died but were also thankful for her long reign and ties to Scotland.”

The body of Queen Elizabeth passed through small Scottish towns on the way to Edinburgh before making the journey back to London. Lund and her family did not witness the processional personally, but saw crowds lined up over a mile deep to see the Queen pass by. “I didn’t want to take a spot away from the locals who had a deep connection with the Queen,” she explains.

“I felt very honored to be there to experience this time in history,” Lund reflects. “The Queen obviously left a lasting impression on Scotland. And to be there and see the traditions and memorials left a lasting impression on my family and I.”

One memorial that stood out to Lund was a projection of the Queen’s own words, saying, “Grief is the price we pay for love.”

Lund and her family have since returned home to Peoria and are sharing their unique experiences with those who are interested in her first-person take of this historical event.

Queen Elizabeth II was laid to rest alongside her late husband, Prince Philip, at the King George VI Memorial Chapel at Windsor Castle on Sept. 19.