FSU professor, students at Westminster Hall as Queen Elizabeth lies in state

Published: Sep. 14, 2022 at 11:12 PM EDT
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LONDON, England (WCTV) - Florida State University professor Chuck Upchurch and several of his students were at Westminster Hall Wednesday as people lined up for a chance to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth.

“She did her job so well for so long. Seventy years, never with a public breakdown like many in her family may have. Many people get such privileges and do something very different with them and we should really respect that,” said FSU professor Chuck Upchurch.

Upchurch is soaking up the scene as tens of thousands of people line up to file past the Queen’s coffin.

The professor says he’s teaching in London this semester by accident, so he’s thankful to be there - along with his students - witnessing something so rare and historic.

“I’ve been trying to talk to my students about the history of it,” Upchurch told WCTV during a Zoom interview outside Westminster Hall Wednesday afternoon. “The fact that when Charles was signing the papers on Saturday morning, I believe, one he signed was to preserve the church of Scotland and its unique institutions and how that was a direct outgrowth of the last of the civil wars.”

Upchurch said he’s grateful so many people will have a chance to pay their respects as the Queen lies in state over the next four days, but he won’t have a chance to join the line.

“Which is a shame of course, but the history of the building she’s in, it’s the oldest building in parliament square. It’s been here for almost 1,000 years continuously as a government building. A great deal of history has happened in that space,” Upchurch said, “But nevertheless, I’m happy for other people to have that privilege.”

While the country focuses on the Queen in London this weekend, Upchurch says he and his students will be taking a long-planned trip to Liverpool and North Wales as part of their class on British history.