Grieving during times of national mourning

St Ann's Hospice Senior Counsellor, Patrick Clark, shares some advice on dealing with grief following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

By Jenn Hughes on September 14, 2022

Our thoughts and prayers are with our late Queen and her family at this extremely sad time.

The death of Queen Elizabeth II, the country’s longest-serving monarch, has affected us all in different ways.

Some feel the sense of loss far more deeply than others. The death of a public figure – in this case, probably the most famous person in the world – can evoke personal memories of grief.

We feel sadness for The Queen herself. You might feel like you knew her personally; she was someone you admired; there could be a fear of change after 70 years of a constant in our national identity and maybe also loss for someone who has died in our own lives.

We are experiencing collective grief, as a nation, for The Queen. This might be comforting to know that you are not alone in your experience of grief at this time. This is different from individual grief and may give you the opportunity to express personal loss that you felt unable to share at the time.

Perhaps the biggest impact that I have seen in sessions, is on those living by themselves who are feeling slightly lonely.

It might feel, for some, that there is no escape via the media at the moment, which is perfectly understandable due to the incredible and long life of our glorious Queen. Every time they turn on the television, or read a newspaper, they are met by blanket coverage about The Queen.

Her passing has affected all ages. Parents, children and grandchildren are all feeling the pain and heartache.

My message is that is perfectly okay to feel that sense of loss.

There is no right or wrong way to react, whatever your connection with The Queen, who may remind you of your grandma.

Responses to grief are unique and personal to an individual.

If you need help, speak to a loved one in the first instance, if possible. It could be a friend, family member or a neighbour. During our collective grief, whoever you reach out to might be grateful for the chance to speak to someone too.

Professional help is also available. Call the Samaritans helpline on 116 123 (available day and night), or visit for bereavement support (Cruse also have a helpline, but it’s not 24/7). Silverline, for older people, includes 24/7 helpline.

They can help you through the here and now.

If your grief lasts longer than you expect – or your reaction is different to what you imagined – services such as our Let’s Talk Service at St Ann’s is available for family and friends of someone who has accessed our services.

If your situation feels more serious, I recommend counselling or psychological support.

The Queen was held in enormous esteem and loved by so many. Our relationship with her would have differed from one person to the next.

There is a shared universal respect for who she was and what she did.

During this period of mourning, it is perhaps appropriate to remind ourselves of a few famous quotations:

To weep is to make less the depth of grief. William Shakespeare
How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard. Winnie the Pooh
Grieving does not make you imperfect, it makes you human. Sarah Dessen, American author

Bereavement support

Many of us welcome talking to others when a person who is close has died – and usually rely on friends and family. But sometimes it can help to talk to someone who is not so closely involved. This is where we can help.

Find out more