Since Queen Elizabeth II’s first visit to the East End aged just 18, she has returned to the area time and again.
The Queen’s connection to the East End was a long and enduring one.
Her first visit occurred before she even ascended the throne. The then Princess Elizabeth at the young age of 18 visited east London in 1944 when she joined her mother, Queen Elizabeth, to visit those whose homes and businesses had been bombed by the Luftwaffe. Her kind and gentle presence won the hearts of locals instantly.
And we’d like to think that her heart was with us: the East End was the first place on the royal tour after her Coronation in 1953 – in fact, she visited the area the very next day. It was the 3 June 1953 when hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets, waving Union flags, shouting ‘God Save the Queen’, the crowds deep, but everyone was hopeful that they might catch a glimpse of their new Queen.
Since then, her trips to the East End have delighted and excited residents.
From meeting a chirpy crowd of children in Victoria Park, opening new laboratories and libraries at Queen Mary University, visiting victims injured in the 2005 Aldgate bombings, to even making her acting debut when she accompanied the quintessential British spy 007 to open the 2012 Olympics at Stratford, she returned to the East End time and again.
The love and loyalty she showed make us think she was an East Ender in heart and spirit. By all accounts, she was witty, plucky, resourceful, and determined.
Do you have any images or stories of Queen Elizabeth II in the East End you want to share with us? Email them to us at email@example.com.
If you liked this article, read our piece on services of reflection to commemorate Queen Elizabeth.
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