San Francisco to honor Queen Elizabeth's legacy with condolence book

As the world absorbed the shock of Queen Elizabeth II's death on Thursday, people began bringing bouquets of flowers to the British Consulate in downtown San Francisco. 

Staff there and at San Francisco city hall prepared plans to have condolence books available for the public to sign on Friday. 

San Francisco city officials say there will be one placed on the fourth floor of San Francisco City Hall from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday.

For many Brits in the Bay Area, it was a loss felt more deeply, grieving from a continent away.

"I was shedding tears, especially when we first heard about it," said Kathleen Kimura, former President of the British American Business Council.

Kimura remembers being a child when Queen Elizabeth took the throne.

"Being brought into the school halls and hearing the king is dead. Long live the queen. And now it's the reverse," said Kimura.

Kimura shared a precious memory, being invited to Buckingham Palace and receiving an award when the Queen honored her.

"I took my husband and went to Buckingham Palace, and Prince Charles made the presentations to all of those who had gone to receive their awards," said Kimura.

"I saw her at a private party once," said Christopher Dean, owner of the Crown and Crumpet tearoom in San Francisco. Like many other Brits, Dean says the Queen has been the monarch throughout his lifetime.

"She's been queen for 70 years, which is longer then I've been alive and longer then the vast majority of the people in England," said Dean, "For her to be there, and now she's not, it's strange."

Cutout figures of Queen Elizabeth and signs celebrating her Platinum Jubilee this past summer still decorate the Crown and Crumpet entrance.

"That ability to be so steady and be a rock for the country I think has been amazing," said Dean. He and his wife Amy set up a table in the Queen's memory Thursday, with her photo, the Union flag, and flowers paying tribute to her life and reign.

"She's presided over so many developments from the breakup of the British Empire to the troubles in Northern Ireland, the decolonization of Africa, and much more," said Katharine Olson, assistant professor of history at San Jose State University, "She came to be a symbol for not just for British people but people across the world of stability, of duty, of public service,"

Her service until the very end, was evident people said, recalling how the queen welcomed the new prime minister in her last official act, with the grace and duty that brought admiration, love and respect from so many.

"Doing that two days before she passed away. I mean, what an example for doing her duty," said Kimura.

President Biden ordered flags to be lowered to half staff Thursday and said in a statement, "Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was more than a monarch.  She defined an era."

Jana Katsuyama is a reporter for KTVU.  Email Jana at and follow her on Twitter @JanaKTVU or Facebook @NewsJana or