Original Published on Sep 13, 2022 at 15:23
By Rhythm Rathi, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
New Brunswick has guidelines around placing condolence books out for the royal family at municipal offices, but a Saint Andrews store owner has been left with this question: Can her life-sized cutouts of Queen Elizabeth II leave storage?
Lynn Mayo, owner of Wee Fabric Shop, “escorted” photo realistic cardboard cutouts of Queen Elizabeth around Saint Andrews during a Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebration held in June. After the celebration, the cutouts were displayed at her store, she said, but they’re now in storage – and she’s unsure what to do with them now that the Queen died Sept. 8 at the age of 96.
“I didn’t bring her back out right now, I didn’t know if it was appropriate or not,” she said, “and I don’t know how people would feel about that if I brought her out.
“She is safely tucked away at home right now, waiting for somebody to tell me what to do with them.”
Mayo, who is also a board member of the town’s Business Improvement Association (BIA), said there was a great response when the Queen cutouts – along with two Queen’s guard cutouts – were touring around town during the June celebration. She said she was stopped on the streets for pictures while she was “escorting the Queen” for various events.
The two guards will be placed on a display at her store daily until the Queen’s funeral, Mayo said, but she will wait to decide what to do with the Queen’s cutouts. Since childhood, Mayo has been a fan of Queen Elizabeth II, which motivated her to organize the cutouts.
“I grew up loving the Queen,” she said. “I respect her.”
The towns of St. George, St. Stephen and Saint Andrews, along with the City of Saint John, have placed condolence books out for residents to sign in the wake of the Queen’s death.
Michelle Vest, events coordinator for the Town of St. Stephen, said the signed condolence books will be stored in the provincial archives after the two-week mourning period as requested by the “Office of the Royal Family” in an email the town received from the Government of New Brunswick.
That email lays out guidelines for the condolence display, namely that condolences should be collected on a hard black book placed on a table draped with black cloth and with white roses or wildflowers, Vest said. The book should state “Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, The Queen of Canada,” along with her date of death, and it should also have the municipal code of Crown, she said, adding that flags were asked to be placed in a “specific order.”
All three towns in Charlotte County confirmed that the condolence books will be available until the end of the mourning period and there has been constant traffic for signing the books throughout the days, but there are no official community events planned as of right now.
Jason Gaudet, CAO of the Town of St. George, said the town’s main street has been displayed with British flags, all the flags are now at half-mast since the Queen died, and there will be a moment of silence at Monday night’s council meeting.