In memoriam: HM The Queen and the Square Mile
Her Majesty the Queen was a regular visitor to the City, from major speeches to visiting our most historic church, St. Paul’s Cathedral.
The links between the Palace and the City have been strong since Her Majesty’s coronation.
At one lunch at the Guildhall, marking the 40th anniversary of her accession to the throne, she toasted the Square Mile’s joie de vivre.
“This Great Hall has provided me with some of the most memorable events of my life,” she said.
“The hospitality of the City of London is famous around the world, but nowhere is it more appreciated than among the members of my family,” she said at the lunch which took place just days after the fire at Windsor Castle.
Many of the ceremonial events of the Queen’s reign took place in the City – chiefly of course at the Guildhall, the ceremonial heart of the Square Mile.
Indeed her 2002 Golden Jubilee was marked with a lunch in which she thanked the country for their support through the ages.
“Your hospitality at this event, my Lord Mayor, is typical of the spirit of this Jubilee and the kindness shown to me by so many people over the years,” she said at the time.
“I would like to give my heartfelt thanks to each and every one of you – here in Guildhall, those of you waiting in the Mall and the streets of London, and all those up and down this country and throughout the Commonwealth, who may be watching this on television.”
Ten years later the Queen returned to the City during her Diamond Jubilee, marking the sixtieth anniversary of her reign. The main event was a Thames river pageant – with the Queen and Prince Philip sailing along the river past the Square Mile and through Tower Bridge.
Though the Queen could not attend the recent celebrations of her Platinum Jubilee at the Guildhall, the Lord Mayor of London paid tribute to her remarkable reign.
“Her Majesty has been a Freeman of the City for 75 years, and we are very grateful for her support – and the support of the whole Royal Family – for the City of London,” Lord Mayor Vincent Keaveny said in hosting the event.
“But most of all, we are immensely grateful for her 70 years of service to the United Kingdom and to the Commonwealth.”
HM the Queen was of course also a regular at City events – not least opening the many spectacular buildings that have been built across the Square Mile during her reign.
She attended the opening of the Swiss Re building – better known as The Gherkin – when it first dominated the City of London skyline.
Her Majesty’s death will be followed by a period of national mourning, to begin immediately. Flags will fly at half mast across the City – and the country.