Logbook – Death of Elizabeth II: The injured city of Aberfan mourns the loss of its Queen
In the center of the cemetery with dozens of black and gray tombs, two rows of white tombs surmounted by arches stand out. These graves are those of the 116 children and 28 adults who died in the 1966 Aberfan disaster, Wales. A coal and mine dump collapsed, sweeping away the school and homes below.
But since the Queen’s death, most of the flowers are placed in front of a tree planted by the Queen to mark the 50th anniversary of the disaster. “Thank you for your support to the families of Aberfan,” we read hanging from a bouquet of flowers, a way for residents to pay tribute to the woman who supported them so much through this ordeal.
Memories that come to the surface
James, who lived in the city from a young age, vividly recalls arriving after the disaster nearly 60 years ago. “The slag heap has completely swallowed up the school and the two streets below, he says, his eyes still haunted by memories.” The Queen came to visit us a week later. She was really moved.”
Bouquet in hand, Liza has only a very vague memory of the Queen’s visit, but she cherishes it with great emotion. “I just remember watching them drive past. I was very small. I just found her very beautiful. But over the years I’ve come to love and respect her.”
The Queen had been criticized at the time for not coming sooner, for waiting, but residents like Chris don’t care. “She said she still regrets not coming sooner. But she came and came back. Throughout her life, Queen Elizabeth II returned many times to honor the memory of the Aberfan Martyrs, as evidenced by the many plaques bearing her name, scattered almost everywhere among the village’s run-down houses. She had even befriended some bereaved mothers.
“She came to lay flowers in the cemetery, in the garden of remembrance. She planted a tree here and last time she opened the community center there. Everyone is really very sad,” James sighs, pointing to the inaugurated center the Queen in 2010.
Still smiling, Liza prefers to remember the best of the sovereign. “We will always remember her with great gratitude for what she has done for us.” Now they hope that King Charles will also come to pray at Aberfan Cemetery.
You would encourage us to do it even better in the future. Thank you!