A tribute to our longest-serving monarch

On 9 September 2015 Her Majesty The Queen became the longest-reigning monarch in British history. She simultaneously became the longest-serving Commander-In-Chief and the longest-serving patron of The Royal British Legion.

In 1952, the Legion's National Executive Council rose to their feet when told that the new monarch, HM Queen Elizabeth II, had agreed to become Patron of the organisation - it was a remarkable start to a very special relationship.

OUR Patron

  • 6 February 1952  Accession to the throne
    On the death of her father, King George VI, Princess Elizabeth became HM Queen Elizabeth II. She agreed to continue the British Legion's Royal patronage.
  • 2 June 1953  Coronation
    A phalanx of 55 Legion Standards took part in the Coronation procession and 40,000 'legionaires' paraded in a royal review.
  • 1971  Royal Charter
    The British Legion became The Royal British Legion when HM The Queen signed our Royal Charter.
  • 1977  Silver Jubilee
    In a Royal Salute, 2700 Legion Standards were dipped before HM The Queen at Windsor.
  • 1986  HM The Queen's 60th birthday
    The Legion gifts HM The Queen with a nugget of Welsh gold to be used for Royal wedding rings.
  • 1994  D-Day 50 Spithead Review
    The Legion chartered the liner Canberra as a flagship for veterans to join the 50th anniversary of D-Day Spithead Review in Normandy.
  • 1996  D-Day Spithead Review 75th anniversary
    HM The Queen attended a Service of Thanksgiving and Re-dedication at Westminster Abbey, marking the Legion's 75th anniversary.
  • 2007  Armed Forces Memorial
    HM The Queen opened the Armed Forces Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire.
  • February 2009  Opening of Haig House
    HM The Queen officially opened the Legion's new headquarters, Haig House, in Borough.
  • 2010  Dedication of name at the Armed Forces Memorial
    Attended the dedication of names ceremony commemorated the members of the British Armed Forces who gave their lives in service of their country in 2009.
  • 2011  90th anniversary
    Portrait commissioned by the Legion to mark Her Majesty's 85th birthday and the Legion's 90th anniversary.
  • 2012  Diamond Jubilee
    The Legion joined the nation in celebrating the 60-year reign of HM Queen Elizabeth II.

ROYAL APPROVAL

The Legion's fiftieth anniversary in 1971 was marked with a signal honour: in the familiar setting of the Royal Albert Hall, the National President General Sir Charles Jones announced to more than a thousand Legion Conference delegates and two thousand visitors that HM The Queen had granted the Legion the prefix ‘Royal’ to its title. The Royal Charter was signed by HM The Queen officially declaring the name change. 

"The Legion shall exist to perpetuate in the civil life of the Commonwealth and the World the Principles for which the nation stands, to inculcate a sense of loyalty to the Crown, community and nation; to promote unity amongst all classes; to secure peace and goodwill on earth; to safeguard and transmit to posterity the principles of justice, freedom and democracy; and to consecrate and sanctify our comradeship by our devotion to mutual service and helpfulness." The Royal Charter

OUR portrait

This portrait, by Darren Baker, was commissioned by the Legion to mark both the monarch's 85th birthday and the Legion's 90th anniversary. 

Darren was given the option of two dresses by HM The Queen's dresser and opted for this blue outfit. "Blue is synonymous with the Legion, but also it provided a good contrast with the yellows and greens in the room."  Darren has painted the wristwatch to appear to read 11 o'clock as a subtle way of emphasising Her Majesty's links with the Legion.

Read more about the portrait

HM The queen and remembrance

Each November HM The Queen attends The Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall ahead of leading the nation at the Cenotaph in London on Remembrance Sunday. The Festival of Remembrance is the longest-running live TV broadcast. HM The Queen first attended as Princess Elizabeth and since becoming monarch, has missed only two performances.