She was just as popular now as she was when she took the throne 70 years ago.
The death of Queen Elizabeth II on Sept. 8, 2022, has left a considerable void in the United Kingdom, around the world, and among her admirers here in Connecticut.
The Southern community has a number of British and international faculty, staff, and students who have been touched by the monarchy.
Stephen Hegedus, dean of the College of Education and an English native, spoke with FOX 61 on the life and times of Queen Elizabeth II and the effect modernity had on the crown. Hegedus has lived in the United States for more than 22 years.
“She’s been an incredible figure and role model in our lives, and if anything, [carried] a real sense of service and duty,” said Hegedus. “That’s been extremely important for us all.”
While living in the United Kingdom, Hegedus earned his doctorate in mathematics education from the University of Southampton, where he also received a bachelor of science degree with honors in mathematics and economics. In addition, Hegedus served as a lecturer at the University of Oxford in England.
“Over time, there have been of course people who have questioned the monarchy, and the role that plays in modern society,” said Hegedus, recalling Princess Diana’s death in 1997 as a turning point. “Certainly in my lifetime I’ve seen a big change there.”
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Stephen Axon, associate professor of sustainability science in the Department of the Environment, Geography and Marine Sciences, remembers coming face to face with the queen during a conference at Liverpool Echo Arena and snapping a selfie with her after the interaction, while discussing the moment with NBC Connecticut in this interview.
It’s a memory he will cherish forever.
“She was absolutely lovely to talk to, just a very quick ‘hello how are you’,” said Axon. “It was a very lovely interaction because not a lot of people get to meet the queen.”
Axon lived in the United Kingdom, more specifically Newcastle-under-Lyme in Staffordshire, for 31 years before emigrating to the United States. His research focuses on the socio-cultural dimensions of sustainability.
Axon remembers Queen Elizabeth II as someone who delivered staunch leadership in times of difficulty.
“My parents are very upset, my grandparents are also upset as well and some of my friends that I’ve spoken to are feeling a bit of a loss,” said Axon. “It does represent almost like a very different type of era is going to be moving into the UK.”
This story will be updated as Southern faculty and staff comment on the death of Queen Elizabeth II with local media.