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British RoyalsQueen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II’s devotion to the RNLI

The new Prince and Princess of Wales met with Royal National Lifeboat Institution crew members and shop volunteers at Holyhead RNLI on their quick visit back to the island. The RNLI has long-standing royal connections, including with the late Queen. 

Queen Elizabeth II became patron of the RNLI in 1952, shortly after ascending the throne. Before becoming patron, the then-21-year-old Princess Elizabeth donated £180 to the organisation. She also made her first visit to an RNLI station in 1949. 

The late Queen awarded the RNLI volunteer medals for her Silver Jubilee in 1977, Golden Jubilee in 2002, Diamond Jubilee in 2012, and Platinum Jubilee in 2022. She also hosted a garden party at Buckingham Palace in 1974 to honour the RNLI’s 150th anniversary. 

Elizabeth named her first lifeboat in 1972, The Royal British Legion Jubilee, and named five different lifeboats during her 70 years as patron. Her last official RNLI engagement was a 2013 plaque unveiling in Cornwall. 

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution was originally founded as the National Institution for the Preservation of Life from Shipwreck in 1824, with King George IV as patron. The organisation adopted its current name in 1854 and received its royal charter from Queen Victoria in 1860. 

Since its founding in 1824, the RNLI has always had a royal patron. Most likely, King Charles III will become the patron after his mother. As the Prince of Wales, Charles undertook many engagements with the RNLI. In September of 2021, he visited a new RNLI ship that was named in honour of his late father, The Duke of Edinburgh. 

Queen Elizabeth’s historic life and reign were recently honoured by the RNLI. On Saturday, 24 September, the RNLI hosted a 150-craft flotilla down the Thames River from Chelsea Bridge to the Tower of London. 

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