Big Issue vendor Will Herbert said the moment he watched Queen Elizabeth deliver the Queen’s Speech from Parliament’s royal gallery made him “proud to be British” as he paid tribute to the late monarch.
The 62-year-old vendor, who sells the magazine at Budgens in Islington, north London, was invited to the opening of parliament in June 2017 as a guest of Big Issue founder and crossbench peer Lord John Bird.
Herbert said seeing the Queen in person had a profound influence on him as he recalled the experience following the royal’s death on Thursday.
“Watching her deliver her speech, she made me feel so proud to be British,” said Herbert, who has been selling the Big Issue magazine since it launched in 1991.
“She will be locked away in my heart now that she is gone. I feel so sad but, on a nice note, 96 years is a long innings. Buckingham Palace will never look the same without her.”
Herbert rubbed shoulders with then-prime minister Theresa May and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in a House of Commons packed with politicians and dignitaries back in 2017.