A tribute to our Patron - Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Hear from our Chief Executive Mark Dowie, who pays tribute to the RNLI's longest-serving Patron in our near 200-year history, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on a visit to St Ives Lifeboat Station.

Photo: RNLI/Nigel Millard

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on a visit to St Ives Lifeboat Station.

Her Majesty became our Patron when she ascended the throne following the death of her father King George VI in 1952 and was a much-loved member of our RNLI family. During her reign our lifeboat crews and beach lifeguards have saved an incredible 65,979 lives. 

Her Majesty's devoted service over the years saw her attend many official RNLI occasions, recognising the efforts of thousands of our volunteers during visits to lifeboat stations, through the national Honours awards, and the medals issued to operational personnel in 1977, 2002, 2012, and 2022 to mark the four Jubilees. 

Sharing your memories of Her Majesty

Many of you may have your own special photos and memories of Her Majesty in either an RNLI or personal capacity. Please feel free to share these with your fellow volunteers over on the Volunteer Facebook Group.

There is also a Book of Condolence available at the RNLI College reception in Poole for all volunteers and staff to sign should they wish.

RNLI closures

During this period of national mourning for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, RNLI sites may be closed to visitors, however all of our lifeboat stations and scheduled lifeguard patrols around the UK and Ireland remain fully operational to save lives at sea.

Here is a poster you can display at your RNLI site with information about being closed to visitors.

RNLI site closure poster

Moment of Reflection

A one-minute Moment of Reflection silence will take place at 8pm on Sunday 18 September, creating the chance to reflect on the life and legacy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. This can be marked privately or in an RNLI capacity to the discretion of the station.

This event is taking place the night before the State Funeral on Monday 19 September, when we will also be honouring Her Majesty as an organisation by closing the majority of RNLI sites across the UK and Ireland (all lifesaving operations will continue as normal).

RNLI volunteers and staff are welcome to gather at stations to mark the event on Sunday evening if they so wish. The structure and organisation of these events are at the discretion of the station. Please speak to you manager if you have further questions.

Here is a poster you may want to display if planning to mark the event at your RNLI site:

RNLI Moment of Reflection poster

Sharing pictures and videos

We understand that you may want to capture this historic moment, but please be mindful that capturing and sharing any videos or images must be done in a respectful way during this period of mourning. Please work with your Lifeboat Press Officer, or contact your Regional Media Engagement team or the RNLI Press Office, if you need guidance on sharing content on social media.

Taking part in commemorative events

We are supportive of volunteers and staff taking part in the many commemorative events over the next few days, but would request that these are not used for any proactive promotion via media, websites or on social channels.

There is further information on the UK Government’s website about how the silence can be marked as well as details of any larger-scale public events to be held across the UK.

RNLI protocols for national mourning

For more information about RNLI protocols during this period of national mourning, please visit this Volunteer Zone article.