A British Army veteran broke down into tears over the loss of Queen Elizabeth II as thousands gathered at Buckingham Palace to pay tribute to the late monarch.
Archie Ferguson, 84, had served 23 years in the armed forces, serving abroad in countries such as Germany and Cyprus. “[I’m] sad and glad, glad that she had a quick departure,” Ferguson told Yahoo News. The death of the monarch brought back memories of the passing of his wife, who had suffered from dementia for 10 years. “She [the queen] didn’t spend a lifetime of suffering,” he added.
The veteran went on to praise the monarch’s wisdom, saying she had been a wonderful queen and a “great example.”
Mourners queued for miles to lay flowers, notes and cards at the gates of the monarch’s official residence. Friday marked the first of 10 days of mourning. The funeral for Queen Elizabeth is set to take place on Sept. 19.
ARCHIE FERGUSON: All right?
- Yeah. I'm just gonna grab--
ARCHIE FERGUSON: There have been some little tributes to the queen, going to Ireland.
- Do you think so?
ARCHIE FERGUSON: I do.
- Yeah, I've seen-- did you see the nice clip of the queen when she spoke Irish when she was in Ireland?
ARCHIE FERGUSON: Oh, yes, I did. Yeah, yeah.
- And so the first question today is, how do you feel? How are you feeling today?
ARCHIE FERGUSON: Sad and glad.
- Sad and glad?
ARCHIE FERGUSON: Mm-hmm.
- Why glad?
ARCHIE FERGUSON: That she had a quick departure. [CRIES] I had 10 years nursing my wife from Alzheimer's. It's a long time, and it's cruel, whereas the queen was introduced to the new prime minister one day, and the next day, she was gone.
- Do you think that was kind of significant?
ARCHIE FERGUSON: Well, it was public knowledge, you know?
ARCHIE FERGUSON: So she didn't spend a lifetime of suffering or many years of suffering. As many as a million people in this country with Alzheimer's. And it's a long road for--
- So she had Alzheimer's?
ARCHIE FERGUSON: No, no, no. She--
- Oh, no, sorry.
ARCHIE FERGUSON: --in this country, I'm talking about. So that's why I'm glad that she didn't suffer. She was alive today, gone tomorrow.
- Yeah. And what significance did she have in your life?
ARCHIE FERGUSON: Well, being in the forces, we were-- she was our boss, if you like. And she was a wonderful queen.
- She was.
ARCHIE FERGUSON: She was a great example. She was full of wisdom, I wish she could give it to some of our leaders.
- Anyone in particular?
ARCHIE FERGUSON: There's a choice? Of all [INAUDIBLE]. Our leaders need wisdom in today's world, though. We're not an easy lot to manage.
- That's a fair thought.
ARCHIE FERGUSON: Who's fault-- we could have a good political debate here. [LAUGHS]
- And how do we feel about King Charles?
ARCHIE FERGUSON: Well, I hope and pray he does well. I mean, I wouldn't like to start a job at 72 is it?
- Yeah. He's about-- yeah, I'm actually not quite--
ARCHIE FERGUSON: 70-ish, anyway. I'm 84, and I wouldn't like to start a new job. [INAUDIBLE].
- Yeah. And what is your favorite memory of the queen?
ARCHIE FERGUSON: I think cooking for her.
- You cooked for her?
ARCHIE FERGUSON: And coming to the garden party here.
- Wow! When was that?
ARCHIE FERGUSON: In my last four years in the army, I was here in London at the [INAUDIBLE] parade.
- Oh, yeah.
ARCHIE FERGUSON: And so I was invited to the garden party here. And also I wasn't invited, I was detailed to make supper for the queen.
- What did you make?
ARCHIE FERGUSON: What did I make? We got some fresh salmon from Scotland. We got saddles of lamb from Wales because they have the best lamb going. We got some pineapples from the resorts.
ARCHIE FERGUSON: So if you say to somebody, it's for the queen, you do--
- Yeah, it's easier. I know. Well, thank you so much for speaking with me. I won't take too much of your time. Could I just grab your name?
ARCHIE FERGUSON: Yeah, it's Archie Ferguson.
ARCHIE FERGUSON: I'm from Royal Hospital--
- The Royal Hospital.
ARCHIE FERGUSON: --Chelsea.
- And could we just get a profile, just a portrait picture, if poss--