Our Tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

It is with deepest sorrow that the Royal British Legion marks the death of our Sovereign and Patron, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.  

We have been hugely privileged to have Queen Elizabeth serve as Patron of the Royal British Legion since her ascension to the throne on 6th February 1952. We are immensely thankful for her lifetime of faithful service and we join the entire Armed Forces community and Country in mourning her loss. 

Her late Mjesty The Queen in ATS uniform
Princess Elizabeth in Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) in 1945

The Queen has always maintained a close relationship with the Armed Forces, a bond which first began when she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) in 1945. On doing so, she became the first female member of the Royal Family to serve as a full-time active member of the Armed Forces. 

Princess Elizabeth in Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) in 1945

Honouring the service and sacrifice of the Armed Forces community

As Head of the Armed Forces, the Queen was steadfastly committed to honouring the service and sacrifice of the entire Armed Forces community.

Her late Majesty The Queen with members of the British Army

Her late Majesty was also the wife, mother and grandmother of individuals who served in the Forces and much of her working life was spent meeting serving members of the Armed Forces and their families.


In 2009 she introduced the Elizabeth Cross, an award giving special recognition to the families of those who had died on military operations, or as a result of terrorism since 1948.

HM The Queen led commemorations at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday 2014.

Leading the nation in Remembrance

Her late Majesty led the nation in moments of Remembrance each year at the National Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph and during the Royal British Legion’s Festival of Remembrance. 

Her late Majesty The Queen laying a wreath at The Cenotaph in 1955 Her late Majesty The Queen laying a wreath at The Cenotaph in 2016

She laid a wreath at the Cenotaph for the first time as Princess Elizabeth on Sunday 11 November 1945, the first Remembrance Sunday after the end of the Second World War.

On 9th November 1952 The Queen attended Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph for the first time as monarch.

And from this point onwards she only ever missed seven Remembrance Sunday events: once in 2021, four due to being abroad on Royal tours and two when she was pregnant.

Her wreath featured around 90 poppies and was either laid by her personally or on her behalf in latter years by Prince Charles.

Supporting the Royal British Legion


In 1971, to mark the British Legion’s 50th anniversary, Her late Majesty granted the charity its Royal Charter.  

Both before and since then, Her late Majesty offered years of dedicated support to the RBL on many occasions, attending numerous events on our behalf.


She first attended the Royal British Legion Festival of Remembrance in 1945 as the then 19-year-old Princess Elizabeth. As Queen, she attended every Festival with members of the Royal Family except for three occasions.

Queen Elizabeth Her late Majesty The Queen attending Westminster Abbey to mark RBL centenary

Her Majesty attended the dedication of the Armed Forces Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum in 2007 and the official opening of Haig House, the charity’s London headquarters, in 2009.

She sat for an official portrait to mark the charity’s 90th anniversary in 2011.

And most recently, Her late Majesty attended a service of celebration at Westminster Abbey in October 2021 to celebrate the RBL’s 100th anniversary, where she was accompanied by HRH The Princess Royal, President of the RBL Women’s Section. 

The Queen was joined by Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge and Prince George in 2019 to launch the RBL’s ‘Together at Christmas’ initiative.

Royal British Legion’s Together at Christmas

During the launch at Buckingham Palace, as she continuously did throughout her reign, Her Majesty took the time to meet and talk with Service men and women of all ranks, and their families.

Her kindness, grace, humanity and genuine interest in their experiences meant a great deal to all who encountered her on that day as it has on the many occasions when she has met with veterans, serving members of the Armed Forces and their families.

Her Majesty has been an inspiration to us all, from her unwavering sense of duty to her devotion to a lifetime of service. Her enduring dedication to the Armed Forces will be deeply missed and never forgotten and we send our sincere condolences to the Royal Family at this time.   

Back to top