19 Sep 2022

Queen's admirers in NZ ready to bid a sad farewell: ''I need to see it'

6:15 am on 19 September 2022
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 11: A portrait of Queen Elizabeth II is placed next to Union Jack flag and Paddington bears among flowers as crowds of people visit a memorial site in Green Park on the third day of national mourning following the death of Queen Elizabeth II in London, United Kingdom on September 11, 2022. Queen Elizabeth II, Britain's longest reigning monarch, has died peacefully at the age of 96 at Balmoral Castle on Thursday after 70 years on the throne. Wiktor Szymanowicz / Anadolu Agency (Photo by Wiktor Szymanowicz / ANADOLU AGENCY / Anadolu Agency via AFP)

Tributes have come to the Queen from all around the world. Photo: WIKTOR SZYMANOWICZ

As preparations for the Queen's funeral are finalised in London, New Zealanders are making their own plans to farewell Queen Elizabeth.

Up and down the country, royalists are getting ready to tune in to watch or listen to the funeral from 10pm NZ time.

Staunch royalist Angela Thompson and her husband Bill own what is believed to be New Zealand's largest collection of royal memorabilia, which famously adorned their cafe.

Thompson grew up in England, and while she has lived in Te Aroha for some years, the Queen's death has made her feel very far from home.

"It's been awful, to be perfectly honest," she said, her voice shaking.

"I needed to be at home, I needed to be there, and I wasn't, and I'm not, so it's very, very hard."

Instead, she will be among those watching the Queen's funeral from home with television specials starting this evening ahead of the service.

"I need to see it. I need to say my farewells.

"I can't be there but I can be there in spirit."

Members of the public place flowers outside Windsor Castle on 15 September, 2022, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on 8 September.

Flowers are laid outside Windsor Castle. Photo: LOIC VENANCE / AFP

In Christchurch, Lisbeth Clement has been a royal fan since she was a young girl and has collected memorabilia all her life.

"Well, I've got the teaspoons, the thimbles, the cups, the plates, books."

Today, she'll meet with her friend who is also a collector to admire their royal treasures, before tuning into the funeral.

"I plan to sit and watch it the whole way through because I just thought she was just such a wonderful person, and I feel that well, I can't be over there, I just need to be watching it and be involved."

A memorial book for Queen Elizabeth II is laid out at Auckland Town Hall.

A memorial book for Queen Elizabeth II is laid out at Auckland Town Hall. Photo: RNZ / Nik Dirga

Further south in Dunedin, 90-year-old Betty Rawlings will be watching too.

Sixty-nine years ago, as a young member of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force, she saw the young Queen Elizabeth in person, when she presented her colours to the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

"What struck me was her beautiful complexion," Rawlings said.

She plans to pay tribute tonight.

"I shall be wearing black and sitting on my own watching the television, in my small way being a part of it."

However, if a random sampling of people on the street elsewhere in the country is anything to go by, not everyone will be watching.

"No, I don't think I'm going to watch it, but I do have compassion for her family and I hope they're OK," one woman said.

"Yes, I think I probably will, it's history and it's interesting," another said.

"No, I don't intend to," and "I don't think it's really relevant to us in New Zealand," others said.

There will be coverage of the funeral for Queen Elizabeth live on RNZ and on the website this evening from 9pm.

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