McDonald's UK Delivers A Heartfelt Tribute To The Queen

McDonald's has never seen a year in the United Kingdom during which Queen Elizabeth II was not on the throne. But that will change in 2023, with the queen's death on Sept. 8 (per CNN) and the forthcoming coronation of Charles III as England's next king (per ABC News). Appropriately, McDonald's has paid its respects to the only British monarch the company has ever known.

According to Let's Look Again, McDonald's opened its first location in the United Kingdom in the London suburb of Woolwich in 1974. At that time, as CNN explains, Elizabeth II had been on the throne for 22 years. Although Let's Look Again says McDonald's struggled to capture the attention of English diners at first, expansion across the United Kingdom started to take place in the mid-1980s. As of 2020, Let's Look Again says, there were nearly 1,300 McDonald's locations across the country.

As McDonald's has become a mainstay in English culture over the decades of Elizabeth II's reign, it was only fitting that the company made a public gesture over her death.

McDonald's mourns the late monarch

McDonald's U.K. took to Twitter on Sept. 9, sharing a popular black and white portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and stating, "the entire McDonald's system is deeply saddened by the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She dedicated her life to serving the United Kingdom & the Commonwealth, uniting us at times of both celebration & challenge. We offer our heartfelt condolences to the Royal Family."

McDonald's has reason to remember Elizabeth II beyond the fact that she was the only monarch the company had ever known. As the New York Post reported in 2017, the queen owned a McDonald's restaurant in a shopping mall west of London. Business Insider reported that the location had an aesthetic befitting a queen, with leather couches and complimentary tablets for diners to entertain themselves with. Unlike most McDonald's restaurants, Business Insider explained, this location employed wait staff, too.

Still, there's no record of Queen Elizabeth II actually eating at the McDonald's location she owned (or any other McDonald's in the U.K.) during her life. (Also, McDonald's is a subject of one of the bizarre food bans imposed by sports teams in the United Kingdom and elsewhere.) But to say that Elizabeth II was a stranger to McDonald's in her life would be inaccurate. McDonald's has good reason to mourn her passing.