Remembering Queen Elizabeth II

“Her Majesty was a British institution, who presided over massive changes across the country and the world. She also took timber seriously”

As you will no doubt be aware, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II passed away recently at the age of 96. Her Majesty was Europe’s second-longest ruling monarch, and presided over Britain during a 70-year period which saw dramatic change, both at home and abroad.

Queen Elizabeth inherited the throne when Britain was in the process of losing its empire, and she provided a steady hand and strong leadership throughout seven of the country’s most tumultuous decades. She saw fifteen Prime Ministers in office (from Winston Churchill to Liz Truss), drove an ambulance during World War II, became the first British monarch to address Congress in the US, modernised the monarchy’s rules of succession, transformed an empire into a commonwealth, and much more besides. She also championed the timber industry – both with her patronage and her own physical labour.

The Queen was recognised for her love of trees, and her patronage of the Royal Forestry Society (RFS) spanned nearly half of the RFS’s 140-year history. According to the RFS, the Queen’s passion in forests, woods, and trees was evident throughout her reign, and she herself planted over 1,500 trees around the world.

RFS President, Sir James Scott, said: “Her Majesty’s love of trees was well known and most recently exemplified by The Queen’s Green Canopy which marked her Platinum Jubilee. Her Majesty followed a line of royal patronage of the RFS dating back to her great grandfather Edward VII. We are grateful that she was such an engaged patron over many years.”

The RFS presented Her Majesty with an oak sapling in September 2016 to commemorate her 90th birthday. It was grafted from Windsor Park’s oldest tree, a 1,300-year-old oak tree. The Queen and The Prince of Wales also revealed The Queen’s Green Canopy Jubilee Junior Forester Award at Balmoral Castle in October 2021.

Queen Elizabeth II is succeeded by His Majesty King Charles III. King Charles has been a champion of green causes throughout his lengthy tenure as the Prince of Wales (a title his son, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, has now inherited). We are sure that all our readers will join us in thinking about the Royal Family at what must be, for them and all of us, a very difficult time.

We also hope you will join us in wishing King Charles a long and successful reign – we have no doubt he will be as much of a friend to forestry, timber, and the environment as his mother was before him.