Skip to main content

Fiona Yassin, founder and clinical director at The Wave Clinic comments on how to speak to children about the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.

Her Majesty HRH Queen Elizabeth II  passed away peacefully at Balmoral in Scotland, aged 96 years, on 8th September 2022.  Also known as the “working queen”, she acceded to the throne aged just 25 and was the UK’s longest serving monarch..

From early on, Her Royal Highness became known for her sense of duty and her devotion to a life of service.  Always calm and consistent. She managed to perform her many roles of daughter, mother, sister, wife, friend, grandmother, stateswoman, and animal lover reliably.  The Queen has been an important figurehead for the UK and the Commonwealth during times of both crisis and celebration.

How to manage the grief from the passing of the Queen

Queen Elizabeth’s passing has impacted many. There is a national outpouring of grief. Children in the UK will be particularly sensitive to her death. So how do you explain this to younger people around you?

Fiona Yassin offers. “Many children will be in shock (today/ this week) about the Queen’s passing. After all, this may well be the first person they know who has died. For some it may even feel like they are losing a family member.

Children may experience conflicting and confusing emotions

Some children may also experience some very conflicting and confusing emotions too, especially if their parents are not pro-monarchy or perhaps take a differing view of what the children might be hearing in school or in the media.

With this in mind, it’s really essential that schools, parents, and carers alike remain open to the fact that not everyone has the same view – and that’s ok. Rather, at this time, listening skills are essential.

This is not about imparting our own views; it is about listening to the young person at this time and encouraging them to talk about what they are feeling.

What to avoid with the passing of Queen Elizabeth II

One of the key things we must avoid in times of grief is shutting others down. We must allow children to remember that person who has passed in any way they wish.

Young people must be allowed to take the space they need to deal with grief. As part of taking this space, parents and carers will likely need to explain the concept of death in the right language to children in age appreciate ways.

As much as possible, parents and carers should avoid euphemisms or telling the children things that aren’t particularly true. This is not always helpful to build trusting relationships with children long-term and creates more confusion down the line.

Instead, they should explain that the Queen has passed away or gone to heaven (depending on the wording they wish to use), why there will be a funeral, and what this might involve, and then explain that it is the end of this chapter, but not the end of our memories.”

About Fiona Yassin

Fiona Yassin

Fiona Yassin is the International Program Director at The Wave. Fiona is a U.K. and International registered Psychotherapist and Accredited Clinical Supervisor (U.K. and UNCG) Registration number #361609 National and International Council of Psychotherapists.

Main photo credit: The Royal Family Website:



Fiona Yassin

Fiona Yassin is the International Program Director at The Wave. She is a U.K. and International registered Psychotherapist and Accredited Clinical Supervisor (U.K. and UNCG). Fiona is EMDR trained (EMDRIA) and practicing Trauma therapist. She is also a member of the International Chapter of IAEDP.  Trained in CBTe (Oxford Group), FREED (King’s College, London), TF-CBT, RO-DBT, GPM. She has extensive experience in the treatment of Eating Disorders and Borderline Personality Disorder. Fiona has further specialist training in the treatment of families in High Conflict Divorces and in Psychiatry across the female lifespan. Fiona us a Fellow of APPCH, a senior accredited Addiction Professional and member of The Association of Child Protection Professionals.

The content in this editorial is for general information only and is not intended to provide medical or other professional advice. For more information on your medical condition and treatment options, speak to your healthcare professional.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.