As people continue to lay flowers and cards outside Buckingham Palace following the death of Queen Elizabeth at the age of 96 last week, book industry bodies in the UK have issued statements expressing both condolences for the Royal Family and recognition of the Queen’s presence in UK society for 70 years.
Dan Conway, chief executive of the Publishers Association said: All of us at the Publishers Association are saddened to learn of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and send our sincere and heartfelt condolences to the Royal Family. She leaves behind an extraordinary legacy that will inspire generations to come.”
Nicola Solomon, chief executive of the Society of Authors, said: “With the rest of the nation we were very saddened to hear of the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. She served the nation for her whole adult life with duty and calm devotion. She symbolised a stability and constancy which, against all the uncertainties and insecurities of 2022, people need more than ever. Her loss will be profoundly felt and we send her condolences to the family.”
Publishers issued statements as well. Penguin Random House, which is preparing to publish Prince Harry’s memoirs later this year, said: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. We join the nation and the world in recognising and respecting her extraordinary and steadfast commitment to service over the past 70 years, which has been both admirable and inspirational. We extend our heartfelt condolences to her family.”
Waterstones said it was “deeply saddened to learn of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and we extend our condolences to the royal family. We add our sincere appreciation to that expressed by so many for the steadfast leadership given to us all by Her Majesty over her long reign”.
Thousands of people have been leaving flowers and cards outside the Palace, or around the trunks of trees in St James Park close by. There were even cards mentioning Paddington Bear, a character so loved by the Queen.
Her Majesty had several links with the world of books.
Her Majesty visited Hatchards in Piccadilly – the Royal appointed bookseller that is owned by Waterstones – in 2006, meeting members of senior management, and in 2010 she hosted a Children’s Party in the grounds of Buckingham Palace to celebrate her 80th birthday, an occasion that saw many children’s writers and publishers in attendance.
It was the world of books too, to which her son, formerly Prince Charles, now King Charles, turned in his moving address to the nation. He concluded with thee words: “May flights of Angels sing thee to thy rest.”
The beautiful line is from Hamlet, when Horatio holds his dying friend in his arms. Across the UK and beyond there will be many wishing God speed to her spirit.