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The world remembers when the Queen broke a 600-year-old tradition to honor 9/11

"Grief is the price we pay for love," she wrote to the American people in 2001.

Changing the Guard at Windsor Castle, Berkshire, England.
Photo by Getty Images

Sept. 11 is a day of national sorrow as Americans remember the tragic events that unfolded in 2001. The infamous and historic day forever changed the United States and the world as we knew it.

On this solemn day, let us not forget that Queen Elizabeth II broke a protocol in order to honor the victims of 9/11. On Sept. 13, 2001, when the Queen ordered the Coldstream Guards’ band to perform “The Star Spangled Banner” outside London’s Buckingham Palace during the Changing of the Guard ceremony. 

As the United Kingdom continues to mourn its fallen Queen, who passed away on Thursday, that sadness extends beyond the confines of Europe. Here in the United States, from the White House to the common citizen, people weep for Queen Elizabeth II, and it’s her heartfelt actions in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks that have endeared her to so many Americans.

On Sept. 14, she ordered a service of remembrance to be held at the historic St. Paul’s Cathedral, which she attended. Fittingly, the American national anthem was played during the tribute. Although the Queen reportedly never sang the British national anthem, “God Save the Queen,” it was noted that she sang along to “The Star Spangled Banner.” 

Just last year on the 20th anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center that claimed nearly 3,000 lives, the Coldstream Guard once again performed “The Star Spangled Banner.”

As the country remembers and honors those victims, the U.K. prepares to lay Queen Elizabeth II to rest. In light of both events, her words she penned in a letter to the American people in 2001 becomes even more touching today: “Grief is the price we pay for love.”

About the author

Matt Tuck

Matt Tuck is the author of the novel Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and the Blogger Supreme. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog, or on Instagram at matt.tuck.writer.