CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Queen Elizabeth passed away Thursday at the age of 96 and will be remembered as the longest reigning monarch of Great Britain. People around the world and here at home are feeling the impact of this tragic loss.

The Queen began her reign in 1953, serving as a beacon of light and hope to many around the world. Thursday night, the community mourning the loss of this British Royal and the legacy she leaves behind.

“The loss of the queen is the loss of a symbol of stability and continuity for the United Kingdom. To lose that symbol, to lose that calming presence is a very difficult thing for a country,” said WNEU Professor of Political Science Tim Vercellotti.

Queen Elizabeth II was Great Britain’s longest reigning monarch, a legacy that spans seven decades of representing the crown. The queen was a link to the almost-vanished generation that fought World War II, she was the only monarch most Britons have ever known.

“She went through many several decades, of World War II, all kinds of crisis in England and around the world, that she handled with grace and dignity and you know, I think we’re going to not see anyone like her again. As far as how she handled herself and the way she handled her family and monarchy,” said Chris Hopewell of Holyoke.

Hopewell has always admired the British Monarch having cultural roots in the United Kingdom. He says that this loss is something that won’t be forgotten, “She’s just been an amazing woman, she’s had so many difficulties in her life and has stood up with just a lot of grace and honor and integrity and has always held herself as a beacon of hope for a lot of folks in England.”

Queen Elizabeth’s role was integral in Britain’s history, having navigated the end of empire, the swinging ’60s, the labor strife of the 1980s, international terrorism, Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic. Many gathered outside Buckingham Palace mourning the loss of the Queen one year after the death of her husband Prince Phillip in April of 2021.

Her 73-year-old son, Charles, will automatically assume the role the new British monarch