9 September 2022
MOURNING THE DEATH OF HER MAJESTY QUEEN ELIZABETH II
Born Free joins the entire country, along with people from around the world, as we mourn the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Most of us have never known a world without her as our Queen. The longest-serving British Monarch of all time, she was born in the 1920’s into a world very different from today. She was in Kenya, at Treetops, with her husband Prince Philip, when she was told, by him, that her father, King George VI, had died and she was now Queen.
Our Founder and Trustee, Virginia McKenna OBE, who first met The Queen at the Royal Premier of Born Free 56 years ago, echoed the thoughts of millions as she said: “She will always be remembered as someone with a genuine interest in people, nature and the world around her. My thoughts and deep personal sympathies, those of Born Free, and, doubtless, the country, the Commonwealth and many around the world are with The Queen’s family as they mourn the loss of their mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.”
Virginia, along with her late husband Bill Travers MBE, also met Her Majesty during the filming of “The Queen’s Garden”, a documentary about the gardens at Buckingham Palace, made to celebrate her Silver Jubilee in 1977.
Virginia said “Queen Elizabeth kindly agreed to take part in the film and, come the day she was to be filmed, I was there early with Bill and the camera team, to rehearse and walk the path The Queen would take so that everything was all set up in advance. The sun shone, she greeted us all warmly, and then I was asked to show her where to walk so she would remain in shot. It went perfectly.”
“When filming was over and the finished documentary was ready, Bill was invited to the Palace to show it to The Queen. He was taken to a room where a screen had been set up, and the royal chair placed in front of it. He sat down further back, a respectful distance away, but she turned and indicated he should sit beside her. An additional chair was arranged. We have never forgotten her warm smile and her beauty, and the way she put us at ease.”
“My thoughts and deep personal sympathies, those of Born Free, and, doubtless, the country, the Commonwealth and many around the word are with The Queen’s family as they mourn the loss of their mother, grandmother and great-grandmother.” ~ Virginia McKenna OBE
The last time Virginia met The Queen was about 10 years ago with her eldest son Will at Buckingham Palace. It was a reception for people over seventy who were still active in public life. Professor Stephen Hawking, Patrick Stewart and others were there but the star was, of course, The Queen, accompanied by her husband Prince Philip.