Queen Elizabeth II

The then Princess Elizabeth at the tiller of the dingy Duchess as a member of the Sea Ranger Association in 1944.

9 September 2022

By Tim Koch

Hear The Boat Sing marks the passing of Queen Elizabeth II.

As readers will know, Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom and fourteen other Commonwealth realms, died yesterday at the age of ninety-six. Queen Elizabeth ascended to the Throne in 1952 and was the longest-reigning British monarch. In June, she became the second-longest reigning monarch in world history having ruled for over seventy years. 

Whatever one thinks of the institution of Monarchy, it would be churlish to deny that Queen Elizabeth led a remarkable life of service. While no intelligent person can produce a logical case for Royalty, life is full of such oddities, including perhaps an interest in long-dead rowers and boats that use an outdated propulsion system. 

Princess Elizabeth on her first visit to Henley Royal Regatta in 1946.
Princess Elizabeth’s attendance at the first post-war Henley marked the inauguration of “The Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup”.
In 1951, Princess Elizabeth attended the 25th Head of the River Race. Here she is pictured outside Quintin Boat Club.
Princess Elizabeth at the start of the 1951 Head of the River Race.
The Queen (pictured with Peter Coni) at the opening of the new Henley Royal Regatta Headquarters in 1986.
On 9 July 2013, The Queen, accompanied by other members of the Royal Family, boarded The Queen’s Row Barge Gloriana to be rowed by eighteen of her Royal Watermen for an afternoon tea cruise to celebrate the 60 years since her Coronation.
The Queen and Prince Philip visit Watermen’s Hall in 2014.

Heir apparent, Charles, immediately ascends to the throne becoming Charles III. A reigning British King is a strange thought for the vast majority of us who have never known any Monarch other than “The Queen”. While the death of a ninety-six-year-old should not be too shocking, Queen Elizabeth symbolised stability and, beyond simply mourning her death, many of us in Britain and the Commonwealth will be greatly unsettled by the loss of this emblem of continuity.


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