The internet’s most moving tributes to the Queen

Following yesterday’s news, everyone from Ann Summers to the Crazy Frog has been rushing to pay their respects

In the wake of the Queen’s death, the UK has entered a 12-day mourning period. Burberry and Raf Simons have pulled their London Fashion Week shows, the Premier League has cancelled its fixtures, strikes and protests have been called off – even ‘National Negroni Week’ has been postponed. Amid all the grief, there has been some solace in seeing brands as diverse as Ann Summers, Lockheed Martin, Domino’s Pizza and Crazy Frog come together in paying heartfelt tributes to the late monarch. When I saw that Crossfit had scheduled a memorial workout featuring one minute of silence, I felt, for the first time, the full weight of history pressing down on me.

A cynic might say that the performance of respectability felt, at times, itself a little disrespectful. But now is not the time for cynicism. Below you will find some of the most resonant and affecting tributes to an undisputed icon of British history.

Every single company in Britain, regardless of how incongruous, published a solemn tribute to Her Majesty. This might have led you to think, “Is all of this really necessary? Might it have been more ‘respectful’ to not say anything at all, instead of using someone’s death as a marketing opportunity? Was anyone even asking for this?” 

Most brands went for a straightforward message of condolence, but some included a visual element: consider Playmobil’s stark, black-and-white figurine, or Lego’s plastic likeness of Her Majesty: its blank, expressionless face echoing the emptiness that many of us are now feeling.

Shrek’s Adventure! London, a theme park on the South Bank, rose to the occasion and had its own “she was the People’s Princess” moment. Capturing the mood of the nation, it announced on Twitter that it “joins millions of mourners around the UK and the world in paying Tribute to HM Queen Elizabeth the II.” While undeniably affecting, the tweet raised a potentially uncomfortable question: does Shrek himself approve of the monarchy? The one thing we can say with certainty is that he is a thoroughly decent person with a big heart, and there’s no reason to think he wouldn’t be saddened by Her Majesty’s passing. But throughout his cinematic oeuvre, his relationship to royalty has been a little more complex. According to cultural critic, media studies scholar and self-described “Shrekspert” Nathan Ma, Shrek is “definitely” a republican – think of how he refused to recognise the hereditary authority of Lord Farquard. It’s true that he eventually married into royalty himself but, much like Princess Diana, he struggled to adapt to the demands and strictures of royal life – in a sense, Shrek 2 and Spencer (Pablo Larrain’s nightmarishly claustrophobic Diana biopic) are in dialogue with one another. 

“I think the main tension between Shrek and royalty is that he wanted to please his wife and was frustrated that he didn’t fit in,” suggests Ma. “It was more of an in-group struggle than an act of defiance against the institution itself. I think he prefers not to think about the monarchy and resents that he has to on occasion – relatable!” But irrespective of Shrek’s politics, it’s safe to assume he would have felt a great deal of admiration for Queen Elizabeth on a personal level, not least owing to the unwavering sense of duty she exhibited throughout her reign. For all the mockery it inspired, Shrek’s Adventure! London’s message was a fitting tribute from a real class act. Shrek has shown us – and not for the first time – that our ideological convictions don’t have to come at the expense of being kind.

The government office in charge of telling us about the weather announced that “as a mark of respect during this time of national mourning,” it will “only be posting daily forecasts and warnings.” As opposed to what, I’m not sure. But we can all agree that, at a time like this, doing something as frivolous and inappropriately giddy as tweeting “it’s raining btw” would be tantamount to spitting on Her Majesty’s grave. In solidarity with the Met Office, I too will be doing my job badly today as a mark of respect. 

Mother Nature herself made a touching tribute when a cloud resembling the Queen was spotted over a town in the West Midlands. When I first read the headline, I’ll admit that I was sceptical. But honestly, fair play: the cloud does actually look somewhat like her. What else is there to say?

Alongside a black and white portrait of the young Elizabeth, Kanye wrote on Instagram, “LIFE IS PRECIOUS. RELEASING ALL GRUDGES TODAY. LEANING INTO THE LIGHT.” If he sees this through, this could well be one of the more impactful aspects of Her Majesty’s legacy.

In what resembled a still from a disturbing true crime documentary, Glee actor Chris Colfer shared a picture of a shrine he had made in honour of the Queen. His collection of memorabilia (which apparently he just has on display in his bedroom?) included a Funko Pop, some kind of voodoo doll, and a tasteful figurine depicting Her Majesty as a duck.

When media outlet LGBTQ Nation published an obituary to Queen Elizabeth and eulogised her as a “quiet supporter of LGBTQ rights”, people were quick to mock this claim, with many suggesting that the word “quiet” was doing some heavy lifting. But these naysayers are betraying their own ignorance of queer history. Sure, it would be absurd to claim that the Queen “threw the first brick at Stonewall”, but her relationship to gay culture runs deeper than you might expect: during the 70s, she was a regular face at both Studio 54 and Edmund White’s queer literary salon, the Violet Quill – talk about range! Although she was never given an official credit, she sang backing vocals on Sylvester’s 1978 disco classic “You Make Me Feel”, became a founding member of ACT UP, and, as rumour has it, was the inspiration behind the protagonist of Sarah Schulman’s classic novel Rat Bohemia.* Sadly, too many people decided to ignore this well-documented and very real history simply because it didn’t fit their narrative.

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