First aid and fairytales: Red Cross celebrates the Queen's Platinum Jubilee
On 6 February 2022, Her Majesty The Queen becomes the first British Monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee. But our cherished relationship with Her Majesty goes back even further. Here's to 70 years with Her Majesty The Queen as our patron.
At a meeting on 11 June 1926, the British Red Cross council sent hearty congratulations to the Chairman - the Duke of York - on the birth of a Royal Princess.
That little princess, Elizabeth, would grow up to have a long connection to the British Red Cross.
As our Patron for nearly seven decades, The Queen has shown enduring support for the work of the Red Cross here in the UK and around the world.
From countless financial donations for those hit by disasters at home or overseas, to meeting the victims of crisis here in the UK, The Queen has been a source of support and comfort to people during some of the toughest times in their lives.
Here are some special moments from our relationship with Her Majesty.
1949: Princess Elizabeth becomes patron of the British Junior Red Cross
Princess Elizabeth, then Duchess of Edinburgh, becomes patron of the British Junior Red Cross as we celebrate our Silver Jubilee.
She thrilled legions of young Red Cross volunteers when she spoke at the National Conference of British Red Cross Society youth members at Friends House on 3 November, 1945.
1951: HRH Princess Elizabeth visits a patient in a Red Cross hut used by tuberculosis patients
Her Majesty has made personal visits to many of the people we have supported over the years, cheering them up in their darkest hours. In this image, she supports a young man with tuberculosis in Scotland.
More recently, the Queen commended the British Red Cross for our work during the coronavirus pandemic, saying that our staff and volunteers are ‘valued and greatly appreciated’.
1952: Supporting the crowds during the Queen's Coronation
British Red Cross first aid teams were proud to keep crowds safe during the Queen’s Coronation on 2 June 1953. Around 1,500 hardy members of the British Red Cross were on duty.
They supported the public all along the procession route, treating more than 1,000 people - some of whom had fainted with all the excitement.
It rained all day, but despite the appalling weather, officers and members displayed ‘the greatest devotion to duty and the most unselfish and skilful interest in their patients’, said our annual report for 1953.
Red Cross officers on duty were able to witness the moving ceremony almost in its entirety.
Young Wendy Englefield from Hampshire was chosen to represent the junior Red Cross in the service at Westminster Abbey.
"The Queen looked wonderfully beautiful", she said "and moved down the Abbey with great dignity."
Wendy had the perfect seat to watch the procession and said that the whole scene ‘[was] like a fairy-tale’.
1970: Greeting British Red Cross volunteers at our centenary at Buckingham Palace
The Queen has now personally marked both our centenary year and our 150th anniversary in 2020.
For the latter, she sent a commemorative coin from the Royal Mint to 150 outstanding staff and volunteers and gave this message to all at the Red Cross:
"Whether those involved in the society are assisting people to return home from hospital safely, offering care and support in the aftermath of a disaster, volunteering in a shop, administering first aid or some of the many other activities the British Red Cross encompasses, their contribution is recognised, valued and greatly appreciated."
1989: A keen interest in our international work - visiting British Red Cross HQ
The Queen visited the British Red Cross head office for the first time in 1989. She took a keen interest in photographs of Erico Fletcher's reunion with her family in Hungary, traced through the British Red Cross tracing service.
2002: Celebrating the British Red Cross at the Queen's Golden Jubilee
Not only did we protect the crowds at the Queen's Golden Jubilee on Wednesday, 6 February 2002, we were honoured to take part in the procession too. Several of our volunteers marched down The Mall in front of Buckingham Palace and were cheered on by high-spirited crowds on either side.
2017: Visiting victims of the Manchester Arena bombing
When a bomb exploded at the Manchester Arena on 22 May, 2017, British Red Cross staff and volunteers provided basic first aid and emotional support at the scene. We also set up a hardship fund for people affected by the attack.
British Red Cross chief executive, Mike Adamson, remembers the Queen visiting victims of the attack in hospital and was struck by her kindness. He says:
I will always be grateful for Her Majesty’s visit to meet victims of the Manchester Arena bombing.
“I was deeply moved by her compassion for those who had lost everything and the power of her visit to bring light to such a dark time.”
Unveiling a portrait of our longest-serving patron
On 14 October 2017, the Queen unveiled a special portrait at Windsor Castle marking nearly seven decades as our patron.
The painting includes a bust of Red Cross founder, Henry Dunant, depicting the long-term relationship between the Red Cross and the Royal Family.
Artist Henry Ward, a long-time supporter of the British Red Cross, said:
"As a long-standing supporter of the British Red Cross, it has been an honour to paint the Queen to celebrate decades of her patronage."
The British Red Cross thanks The Queen and wishes her a very happy Platinum Jubilee.
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