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St Andrews and Fife Respond to the Death of Queen Elizabeth II

Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the UK officially entered a period of mourning – commencing 8 September, the date of her passing and concluding 19 September, the day of the state funeral.

The funeral was screened in Younger Hall in St Andrews at 11am, followed by two minutes of silence at midday.

Principal Sally Mapstone said: “We recognise this is a significant and historic day and we would like to offer an opportunity for members of the University and wider St Andrews community to come together if they wish”.

There was a special Service of Evensong on Monday, in St Salvator’s Chapel at 5:30pm. The service entailed prayer, choral music by St Salvator’s Chapel Choir, readings, hymns and a reflection from the Chaplain, Revd Dr Donald MacEwan. The service was live streamed via the Worship web page for those unable to attend in person.

St Salvator’s Bell-ringers rang partly muffled bells from 10am to 11am and then rang a quarter peal between 4:30pm and 5:30pm before the Service of Evensong in the Chapel.

On the day of the funeral, declared a bank holiday, many attractions were closed across Fife. The Old Course, National Trust properties, libraries and family fun parks were among the organisations which closed on Monday out of respect.

Schools, nurseries, and a number of supermarkets also closed.

Bin collections were cancelled and some health services were also impacted, including some flu and Covid vaccinations.

Many tourist attractions in St Andrews closed for the day, including St Andrews Aquarium, Scotland’s Secret Bunker, St Andrews Castle, R&A World Golf Museum, and all St Andrews Links golf courses and clubhouses.

The Christian churches and communities in St Andrews have arranged a Service of Thanksgiving to take place on Saturday 1st October.

During the period of mourning, many student events were cancelled following an email sent to staff and students by Principal Mapstone. The Vice Chancellor wrote that “work and study should continue as normal”, but that “extra-curricular events and activities…should be considered carefully”.

Many of the annual Freshers’ Week events were cancelled, including the St Andrew’s Charity Fashion event, Starfields, which was held yesterday in Lower College Lawn. In their social media statement, the committee said: “The St Andrews Charity Fashion Show (FS) mourns the loss of Her Majesty The Queen. During this time, we reflect on the impact Her Majesty had on the nation. As a community, we shall respect the twelve-day mourning period.

“FS, with the support of the University, has decided to reschedule Starfields. More information will be provided in the coming days, please bear with us during this challenging time for the country”.

Events organised by the Students’ Association, including S Clubs Allstars and Late Night Club Night, were also cancelled.

Some other groups continued with their events as planned. On 8 September, Throwbacks Music Collective allowed their Freshers event to go ahead, although they gave refunds to those who decided not to go and donated money from the event to the NHS Foundation. Down to Funk also continued with their planned event that evening.

The University planned a service to remember and honour the Queen, in conjunction with the nationwide service. This interfaith service of remembrance was held on Thursday, 15 September. St Andrews Faith Societies presented prayers, readings, and musical offerings in memory of Queen Elizabeth.

In addition to the University of St Andrews’ Response, Fife paid tribute to Her Majesty following her death. The Union Jack replaced the typical Saltire and was flown at half-mast on all Council buildings, having been raised at 11am on Saturday 10th September for the proclamation and lowered again on Sunday at 1pm until after the funeral.

Robert W Balfour, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Fife said: "It was with great sadness that I have learned of the death of our late Sovereign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second. On behalf of all the people of Fife, I have conveyed our sincere condolences to His Majesty The King. Her Majesty The Queen was held in high regard and was loved and admired by many Fifers.

"Her Majesty was greatly respected in the United Kingdom and throughout the world for her lifetime of dedication and service to our nation and to the Commonwealth. I recall the many times she visited Fife, most recently in 2017 when she opened the new Queensferry Crossing and in 2018 when she presented new colours to The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards at Leuchars.

"It has been my great privilege to serve as The Queen’s Lord-Lieutenant of Fife and I look forward to supporting the work of our new King who has already demonstrated his commitment to the development of a modern monarchy for our changing times”.

Provost of Fife Jim Leishman said: “I know all Fifers will join me in sending our heartfelt sympathies and condolences to all members of the royal family at this sad time.

“Our Queen has had an extraordinary reign and Scotland has always had a special place in her heart. She paid many visits to our Kingdom of Fife over the years, including to officially open the new Queensferry Crossing in 2017. Her legacy lives on as she will in the hearts of all of us.”

The Royal Family have long standing connections with Fife and the University of St Andrews. The Queen visited in 1955 and again in 1957, when she visited RAF Leuchars.

The Queen paid another visit in 1982, where she was presented with a miniature red gown in honour of the recent birth of her grandson, Prince William.

Prince William went on to study at the University, graduating in 2005. The Queen was present for his graduation. Her other granddaughter, Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor, currently studies at the University.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

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