'A symbol of bravery and humanity': Czech leaders honor Britain's Queen Elizabeth II

Czech politicians shared an outpouring of condolences and photos on social networks following the passing of Britain's longest-reigning monarch Thursday.

Expats.cz Staff ČTK

Written by Expats.cz StaffČTK Published on 09.09.2022 09:18:00 (updated on 09.09.2022) Reading time: 4 minutes

President Miloš Zeman and other Czech politicians took to social media to express grief over the death of Queen Elizabeth II and show respect for her lifelong devotion to the British monarchy, her hard work, and the humility with which she served her country.

Queen Elizabeth died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland Thursday at the age of 96.

"Her devoted service to the monarchy, great humbleness and nobleness will stay in our hearts forever," Zeman said in a statement posted by the Castle on Twitter.

In a condolence letter to Queen Elizabeth's eldest son and heir to the throne, Charles III, Zeman said that a majestic era of history had ended with his mother's passing, adding that the Queen was a symbol of the modern history of not only the United Kingdom but the whole world.

Zeman recalled his personal meeting with Elizabeth II in June 2017 and said it was one of the most profound moments of his presidency.

The president's office also shared photos from the Queen's 1996 visit to Prague Castle, during which she was awarded the Order of the White Lion, First Class, from then-president Václav Havel.

Prague's Vacláv Havel Library honored the Queen by posting a series of photos of the Queen's 1996 visit to the Czech capital. The photos show the Queen and Prince Phillip with Havel and First Lady Dagmar Havlová. The library called her "A noble, selfless lady and a kind, simple human being."

Havlová posted on Instagram of the Queen's passing: "Today, the most important empress of the European royal court, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, left. I respected her a lot for her attitude, fortitude, and sense of humor. She was very human [with] honor, morals, principles, values – something that is not shown much anymore and yet we all appreciate it. Condolences to the Royal Family."

Prime Minister Petr Fiala also tweeted his condolences. "I am deeply saddened by the death of Her Majesty the Queen, Elizabeth II. Sending heartfelt and sincere condolences to the Royal Family and the British people and the people of the Commonwealth," the PM wrote.

Elizabeth II was a symbol of the British monarchy for most people in the world, Fiala told journalists Thursday evening before his return from the Netherlands.

"If we only realize for how long she was on the throne, for more than 70 years, through what periods Britain was going through, all that she had to deal with," he said about the longest-reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, adding that Elizabeth II approached it all with grace.

Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský said a symbol of bravery, hard work, devotion, and humanity has left with the Queen’s death.

Former prime minister Andrej Babiš considered her a sensitive, and humble woman. "Also thanks to her, the United Kingdom has been a reliable and free country and our good partner," he said. Babiš tweeted that he met Elizabeth in Portsmouth in 2019 at an event paying respect to war veterans.

Markéta Pekarová Adamová, chairwoman of the lower house of the Czech parliament, said she admired Queen Elizabeth II and considered her an example of a ruler devoted to her country. Miloš Vystrčil, head of the upper house of parliament, said the Queen was a symbol of continuity and stability. "King Charles is facing a demanding task," he said.

Interior Minister Vít Rakušan said Thursday will be one of the days when people will remember where they were and what they did when they heard the news that Elizabeth II died. She was a symbol of postwar Britain and its best traditions, he tweeted.

Elizabeth II was an inseparable part of the image of the United Kingdom as a dignified and friendly country and her death will affect the whole world, Deputy Prime Minister Ivan Bartoš said. "She was a link between the past and the present, she was both a symbol and idol. The sincere love of Britons to their Queen was understandable to us, too," he tweeted.

Following news of the Queen’s death, the British Embassy in Prague flew the flag at half-staff and shared the official statement of Buckingham Palace, the embassy spokeswoman Eva Bouchalová told ČTK. Mourners began placing candles outside the Embassy last night.

Prague officials also announced Thursday evening that Petřín tower would light up in the colors of the British flag. A condolences book or place to leave flowers is being considered for Praguers who'd like to pay their respects.

During her visit to Prague, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited the Charles Bridge, Old Town Hall, Prague Castle, and Brno. They were greeted by tens of thousands of people standing in the streets, former head of castle protocol Miroslav Sklenář, told CNN Prima. He added that Havel made it a point to introduce the Queen, an unabashed lover of animals, to his dog. 

"The queen came to say goodbye in his study, where his dog Ďula was waiting," Sklenář said.

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