VICTORIA — The afternoon sun floods the iconic Fairmont Empress Hotel Tea Room in Victoria, B.C., but fails to dispel the somber mood caused by the death of Queen Elizabeth II .

Vancouver’s Priscilla Luk says she took a seaplane to Victoria on Friday to attend tea at the Empress, which has long embraced her royal heritage, and help her mourn the monarch.

She brandishes her mobile phone and scrolls through her social media posts in Chinese paying tribute to the Queen.

“It’s different being here,” she said. “Today is a bit sad, yes, to remember, to remember Queen Elizabeth.”

The 114-year-old Empress opened its doors just a few years after Queen Victoria died in the capital of British Columbia that bears her name.

Her royal pedigree includes a visit from Queen Elizabeth’s parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, in 1939.

The hotel’s history says they shipped their own tableware from England for a formal dinner and left it at the Empress as a gift. The same model has been used at the hotel ever since.

When their daughter, Princess Elizabeth, visited the hotel in 1951, the year before her coronation, the Empress said her parents’ original dinner service had been brought out of storage for the occasion.

British tourist William Morris, whose son is getting married in Victoria on Saturday, said he and his family members were drawn to the Empress on Friday in part to remember the Queen.

“It’s extremely sad because she is, was, a highly respected member of the Royal Family,” said Morris, who traveled from the English town of Grantham.

“She was consistent in caring for and respecting England and her United Kingdom, as well as the Commonwealth and especially, I believe, Canada,” he said.

Morris said around 70 family and friends from the UK, Australia, Indonesia and Canada were in Victoria for the wedding, which had been postponed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic .

“When people are together they reflect on the queen’s passing,” he said. “They will talk about their memories.

Morris said he visited the Empress on her frequent trips to Victoria, but on the occasion of the Queen’s death, relatives found it more comforting to visit the gardens than to have tea.

The management of the Fairmont Empress expressed its condolences for the death of the queen.

“The entire Fairmont Empress team is deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II,” Dina Vieira, Director of Public Relations, said in a statement.

“Our thoughts are with the entire Royal Family and the millions of people around the world whose lives they touched during their remarkable 70-year reign, and we join the British nation in mourning,” she said. declared.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on September 10, 2022.

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press