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Key West honors Queen Elizabeth at Southernmost Point marker

The long-reigning monarch, who died Sept. 8 at age 96, visited the Florida Keys in 1991.
In this photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, Key West Community Services' staff members position a purple sash around the Southernmost Point marker in tribute to Queen Elizabeth II Friday, Sept. 16, 2022, in Key West, Fla. The Queen and Prince Philip visited the Florida Keys May 18, 1991, and toured historic Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas. From left are Trent Richardson, Paul Cassidy and Christopher Coleman.
In this photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, Key West Community Services' staff members position a purple sash around the Southernmost Point marker in tribute to Queen Elizabeth II Friday, Sept. 16, 2022, in Key West, Fla. The Queen and Prince Philip visited the Florida Keys May 18, 1991, and toured historic Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas. From left are Trent Richardson, Paul Cassidy and Christopher Coleman. [ ROB O'NEAL | AP ]
Published Sep. 17

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) — The Southernmost Point marker in Key West, Florida, a landmark delineating the continental United States’ southernmost spot of land, became a memorial to Queen Elizabeth II on Friday when city workers installed a British flag and royal purple banner at the much-photographed site beside the Atlantic Ocean.

The tribute was particularly fitting because the long-reigning monarch, who died Sept. 8 at age 96, visited the Florida Keys in 1991.

“We do have a connection with the queen; we had the privilege of actually having her visit us,” Key West Mayor Teri Johnston said.

“We join the world today in mourning the loss of such an incredible human being,” Johnston said.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip stopped at Dry Tortugas National Park and Fort Jefferson, 70 miles west of Key West in the Gulf of Mexico, on the royal yacht. They were welcomed by then-Florida Keys Mayor Wilhelmina Harvey, who presented them with a conch shell, an enduring symbol of the island chain.

The red, yellow, black and white Southernmost Point marker, a 20-ton concrete monument that resembles a giant marine navigational buoy, was installed in 1983 and has become a popular photo stop for travelers.

Plans call for the memorial to Queen Elizabeth to stay in place through her funeral on Monday.

In this photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, a Conch Tour Train passes the Southernmost Point marker that was adorned with a purple sash to memorialize Queen Elizabeth II Friday, Sept. 16, 2022, in Key West, Fla.
In this photo provided by the Florida Keys News Bureau, a Conch Tour Train passes the Southernmost Point marker that was adorned with a purple sash to memorialize Queen Elizabeth II Friday, Sept. 16, 2022, in Key West, Fla. [ ROB O'NEAL | AP ]
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