An official response from the British Footwear Association (BFA) CEO Lucy Reece Raybould following the sad death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday, September 8, 2022. Her Majesty had reigned for 70 years and was 96 years old, making her the United Kingdom’s longest-serving monarch.

Like so many across the United Kingdom and the wider world, we are deeply saddened at the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She was an icon of Britishness and a constant, guiding presence who underpinned our shared national and international identity. From this perspective alone, the impact of her loss will ripple outward and influence business, trade, consumer confidence, optimism, trends, and so much more.

Queen Elizabeth II was a fashion icon in her own right. Her signature approach to dressing, standing out in a crowd, and passionate support of British businesses through the granting of Royal Warrants, was essential to many companies across the UK and Northern Ireland. As the most traditional and historical aspects of British culture enter the spotlight in such a remarkable, albeit tragic way, I expect heritage crafts and the companies that excel in them will enjoy an autumnal peak. After all, the world is witnessing a spectacle of British history brought to life for the first time in more than 70 years. Many aspects of this period of National Mourning are being televised and divulged publicly for the first time, which means we are, as a nation, witnessing something profound.

The British Footwear Association will follow the National Mourning Guidance outlined by the Cabinet Office here, and we are encouraging our Members to do the same. We are signposting our Members to the Royal Website, where there is an online book of condolences, and to their Local Authorities for guidance on memorial and floral tributes. We also acknowledge that grief can be burdensome and nuanced. Although few of us will have ever met The Queen, she was well-known and respected. The loss of her presence adds to the already shaky ground our country is walking on. A new Prime Minister, the cost-of-living crisis and rising energy bills have made for an unstable climate, which we must now navigate in a changed Britain.

On the individual level, this may exacerbate anxiety and enhance stress in already turbulent times. We have and will continue to advise our Members to prioritise mental health in the workplace, offer support to their staff, and create lines of communication that put the death of our Queen into context for families who are already struggling with rocketing bills.

Finally, we would like to extend our deepest condolences to the entire Royal Family, including His Majesty King Charles III, whose ascension to the throne is sorrowful, stressful and the culmination of a lifetime of waiting. Long live King Charles III.

Main image courtesy of the BBC.

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