Master of St John’s pays tribute to The Queen

“The Queen's historic reign had an immeasurable impact on the nation. She was an extraordinary woman with an unparalleled sense of duty.”

Her Majesty The Queen has died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland aged 96, Buckingham Palace announced today (8 September 2022).

The Queen ruled for longer than any other monarch in British history and during her 70 years as Head of State she became a much loved and respected figure across the globe. 

Known for her sense of duty and her devotion to a life of service, the Queen was an important figurehead for the UK and the Commonwealth during times of enormous social change.

Heather Hancock DL LVO, Master of St John’s College, paid tribute to The Queen and said: “On behalf of the Fellows, students and staff of St John’s College, I extend our deepest sympathies to the Royal Family on the death of Her Majesty The Queen. The College flag is flying at half-mast as the nation enters a period of mourning.

“The Queen’s extraordinary reign was the longest in British history – she dedicated her life to the service of the people of the United Kingdom, the Realms and the Commonwealth. Her seven decades as Head of State had an immeasurable impact and will not be seen again in our lifetimes. She was a remarkable woman whose unparalleled sense of duty will never be forgotten."

Elizabeth was born in Mayfair, London, as the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth). Her father acceded to the throne in 1936 upon the abdication of his brother, King Edward VIII, making Elizabeth the heir presumptive. She was educated at home and began to undertake public duties during the Second World War, serving in the Auxiliary Territorial Service.

In November 1947, she married Philip Mountbatten, a former prince of Greece and Denmark, and their marriage lasted 73 years until his death in April 2021. They had four children together: Charles, Prince of Wales; Anne, Princess Royal; Prince Andrew, Duke of York; and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.

The Queen succeeded to the throne age 25 in February 1952 after the death of her father, King George VI, and she was crowned in Westminster Abbey in June 1953. She travelled more widely than any other monarch and carried out many historic overseas visits. The Queen had links – as Royal Patron or President – with more than 600 charities covering a wide range of issues, from opportunities for young people, to the preservation of wildlife and the environment.

In 2011, The Queen and and The Duke of Edinburgh visited St John’s to mark the College’s 500th birthday. With the Royal Standard flying over the College, they visited the newly restored foundations of the original medieval chapel in First Court and unveiled a commemorative plaque. The royal party then listened to a performance by St John's College Choir before attending lunch with Fellows and students in the Combination Room.

Queen's visit to St John's
The Queen visited St John's in 2011 to mark the College's 500th birthday 

In the afternoon, The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh joined more than 1,000 students, Fellows and members of staff for a garden party on the College Backs. To complete the day, The Queen cut a special 500th birthday cake and departed the College to avid flag-waving of pupils from St John's College School.

Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II was the longest-lived and longest-reigning British monarch, the oldest and longest-serving head of state, and the second-longest reigning sovereign monarch in world history.

A book of condolence has been placed in the Chapel at St John’s and candles have been made available to be lit in her memory. A short act of remembrance with a reading, two-minute silence and prayers will take place in the College Chapel at 12pm on Friday, 9 September. 

Published 8/9/2022

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