In France, tributes to Queen Elizabeth's grace and legacy

The Union Jack flies at half mast at the main gate of the British embassy in Paris and two portraits of Queen Elisabeth II hang on its walls on Sept 8, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS - The Eiffel Tower's lights went out early Thursday night in a tribute to Queen Elizabeth, with Parisians recalling a British monarch who anchored her country through upheaval with poise and grace for longer than many have lived.

The 1997 death in Paris of her former daughter-in-law Princess Diana prompted Queen Elizabeth to endure some of the darkest days of her 70 years on the throne, when the palace seemed disconnected from the outpouring of public grief.

At the Flame of Liberty monument above the underpass where Princess Diana was killed, some passers-by paused to remember a national figurehead and Britain's longest-reigning monarch.

"She was the person who defined Britain," said optician Salima Gersa.

Another woman, Valerie, a museum worker, said Queen Elizabeth's death marked "the end of an era… She was an extraordinary woman who saw the world around her crumble."

While remaining a symbol of stability and continuity for Britons at a time of relative national economic decline, Queen Elizabeth also tried to adapt the ancient institution of monarchy to the demands of the modern era.

"(Her death marks) a tragic moment, but she had a great life and has a great legacy," said American tourist Greg Shanon. REUTERS

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