In Memoriam: HM Queen Elizabeth (1926-2022)

Queen Elizabeth II
Official portrait released by The Royal Family

Published Sep 8, 2022 3:50 PM by The Maritime Executive

The United Kingdom and the world paused on Thursday afternoon to pay tribute to HM Queen Elizabeth II on news of her passing at age 96. Newscasters on the BBC were emotional reading the news and citizens began to gather to mark the passing for many of them of the only head of state they have ever known.

Elizabeth ascended to the throne in 1952 on the death of her father HM King George VI. She became the country’s longest-reigned monarch serving for 70 years and guiding the United Kingdom through many tumultuous periods in history. Her last appearance came just last Tuesday, September 6, when she met Liz Truss and asked her to become the 15th prime minister during the Queen’s long reign. The Queen’s first prime minister was Sir Winston Churchill and she also saw Margaret Thatcher become Britain’s first female prime minister.

The Queen was known to be an ardent supporter of the maritime world and the Royal Navy possibly dating back to her early married life when she was a naval officer's wife. Her husband, the late HRH Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh was a naval commander. He had distinguished service in World War II with the Royal Navy rising to the rank of Commander before ending his active naval career in 1951 four years after their marriage. 

During her reign, she participated in numerous namings of vessels and official royal tours with the Royal Navy. Her latest namesake, the new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, commissioned in 2017, had set out earlier this week on a training exercise to the United States. The Royal Navy paused with the rest of the nation to remember their sovereign. 

Defense Secretary Ben Wallace issued a statement saying, “The sad passing today of Her Majesty The Queen will be felt by every member of her Armed Forces. Her Majesty was more than their Commander in Chief, she was their guardian. She was deeply involved in championing their welfare and supporting them before, during and after operations. She dedicated her life to serving her Nation. The motto of the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst is ‘Serve to Lead’. The Queen’s lifetime was a living embodiment of that.”

The Queen was also involved with the commercial shipping industry having many times agreed to attend christenings and showing a keen interest in Britain’s merchant marine. She had been attending naming ceremonies since she was a young princess and later took the duty including twice giving her own name to vessels of Cunard Line and naming the last ocean liner Queen Mary II.

The Merchant Navy Welfare Board (MNWB), the umbrella charity for the UK Merchant Navy and fishing fleets, issued a statement on behalf of the maritime world. MNWB Chief Executive Stuart Rivers said, "Thank you for your unwavering dedication to a life of service to our great nation. Today, will be marked with sadness, but we will also celebrate the exemplary service given by Her Majesty. You are in all of our thoughts and prayers and our sincere condolences are with the Royal Family at this time.”

The Queen was patron to many charitable organizations, including The Sailor’s Society. “Our grateful thanks for the 70 years of dedicated service HM Queen Elizabeth II gave to the country and Commonwealth,” the charity wrote on its social media. “We are so thankful for her support as Sailors' Society Patron and for her care for seafarers across the world.”

The Queen’s eldest son, Prince Charles, ascended to the throne on the passing of his mother. 

The Maritime Executive extends its condolences and pauses with the United Kingdom and the rest of the world to pay tribute to HM Queen Elizabeth II.