COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – As millions in the U.K. continue to mourn the death of Queen Elizabeth II, two Columbus State University (CSU), who were visiting London when the U.K. government officially announced the Queen’s death share their reactions and emotions to the news.

At the time, CSU staff members Kristi Rehrauher and Eric Spearshad had just finished a tour of Buckingham Palace. The two, along with other CSU staff members, left the palace and started walking toward Parliament. 

They noticed people gathering near Queen Elizabeth’s statue as they left the palace. That is when the staff members heard bagpipes, saw military personnel leave the barracks near Buckingham Palace, and listened to the official announcement of the Queen’s death. 

Rehrauher shared her and other people’s initial reactions to the announcement. 

“Well, it was kinda surreal because we were actually there when it happened, but I think everyone had expected that it was gonna happen, and it was sad. I mean, she lived a very long life and had node wonderful things,” said Rehrauher. “ So it was just kind of surreal that we were there at that historic moment.” 

Spears also shared his first reaction to hearing about the Queen’s death. 

“With the Queen’s passing, it was a very surreal experience because this is something that you don’t plan for,” said Spears. “And to be there at a moment of enormous history and watching it unfold was just a really surreal experience.”

Although Rehrauher and Spears have visited the U.K. numerous times, their most recent trip to the U.K. will be one to remember.