It was through the pilot's announcement over the loudspeaker that many on board a Virgin Atlantic flight from London to Boston Thursday learned about the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
"It is with great sadness that we have learned of the passing of her majesty, the queen," the pilot was heard saying.
"I cried, of course," admitted Laura Russell.
Russell, a Boston native, has lived in London for the past 35 years. It's home to her children, and Elizabeth was their queen.
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"It's shocking how personal it feels, considering the fact that I don't know her, she's not a member of the family — it feels like I've lost my grandmother, just because she's always been there," said Russell.
"It was a sad day. It's a very sad day," said Paul Johnson, a U.K. citizen.
Johnson, who used to reside in Boston, said he once met the queen at Buckingham Palace. Somehow, the news of the loss still hadn't sunk in Thursday night.
"I think she did a great job of guiding the U.K. through some very difficult times over recent years, and I think she'll be very fondly looked upon and greatly missed," he said.
More on the death of Queen Elizabeth II
David and Karen Gibson certainly feel the void.
"[It's] very sad. I think we found it to be more sad than we thought we would be," admitted Karen Gibson.
"She's been on the throne all my life, and it's just very, very strange," noted David Gibson.
Queen Elizabeth II lived through most of the 20th century and ruled for half it. With seventy years on the throne, she was the longest-serving British monarch.
"I certainly don't envy Prince Charles having to take over the throne now, but he's the best man for the job, and I think they'll be in safe hands," said Johnson.