The Spectator

America’s touching tributes to the Queen (1901)

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The United States hasn’t always reacted rather snidely to the death of the British monarch. Below is The Spectator’s lead piece following the funeral of Queen Victoria in 1901, available on our fully-digitised archive.

Nothing has been more striking, nothing more moving to the British as a nation, than the way in which the Queen has been mourned and her memory reverenced in the United States. The English-speaking people of America almost with one voice have joined the English-speaking people of the British Empire in their expressions of affection for the Queen. The outside world has wondered at the spectacle, and has asked how it comes about that a people who are always anxious to proclaim their Republicanism and their indifference to the claims of Monarchy have held a national mourning for a foreign Queen. Even Englishmen have not quite understood the true nature of American feeling, and have sought about for special explanations of the way in which the people of the United States have been moved. Some have thought to find an explanation in the fact that the Queen took the side of the Union in the Civil War, and was always politically a firm friend of America; others declare that the Queen’s domestic virtues specially appealed to the American people; while others again trace America’s grief to the fact that Americans honour womanhood beyond other nations, and that the Queen was the representative of all that is best in woman.

The American people have felt the Queen’s death so deeply because they and we belong to the same race

No doubt in a sense all these reasons are true, but they are not by themselves sufficient. The true explanation lies much deeper, though it includes those just stated. The American people have felt the Queen’s death so deeply because they and we belong to the same race, speak the same language, follow the same ideals, moral, social, and political,—because, in brief, truth, justice, freedom, honour, honesty, sincerity, and “the conduct of a gentleman” mean not something that needs a shade of difference in translation, but exactly the same things to them and to us.

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