Words by Smiley Team
Our Queen, Elizabeth II, passed away on Thursday 8 September at the age of 96. While the nation is in a period of mourning, many are sharing fond experiences or memories with the monarch.
One of the ways they’re doing this is through looking back at her incredible commitment to charity work during her 70-year reign.
Queen Elizabeth II had ties to more than 700 charities during this time – and these touched on issues from the environment and our planet, to women’s empowerment, as well as health and wellbeing.
In fact, during her 60th year on the throne in 2012, the Charities Aid Foundation found that the Queen was one of the world’s “greatest supporters of charities” – as she had helped organisations raise more than £1bn. It was during this time, it was stated that the Queen had done more for charity than “any other monarch”.
Some of her impactful charity work and wisdom has come through in her regular Christmas messages. Back in 2016, she said: “We sometimes think the world’s problems are so big that we can do little to help.
“On our own, we cannot end wars or wipe out injustice, but the cumulative impact of thousands of small acts of goodness can be bigger than we imagine.”
Here are just some of the charities she supported – and how she did it. You can find out more about the Queen’s charitable acts on the Royal Family website.
Queen, Elizabeth II dedicated 70 years as a patron of the RNLI, “engaging with, and recognizing the efforts of thousands of our people,” RNLI Chief Executive, Mark Dowie, said.
When she ascended to the throne in 1952, the Queen took on the role and throughout this time, she has been with the charity through granting awards for service to lifesaving, sending heartfelt sympathies, and conducting memorable royal visits.
Since she took the throne, RNLI lifeboats have launched 330,401 times, and saved 65,886 lives.
The Queen was the British Red Cross’ longest serving patron, dedicating 70 years of her life to the cause. Not only did she donate funds to the British Red Cross, she would personally visit those who the Red Cross were helping.
One of her earliest visits was in 1951, when she visited a Red Cross hut where people with tuberculosis were being treated.
“We are so deeply saddened by the news that Her Majesty The Queen has died.” said Mike Adamnson CBE, chief executive at the British Red Cross. “As our patron for seven decades, The Queen showed enduring support for the work of the Red Cross here in the UK and around the world.
“From countless financial donations for those hit by disasters at home or overseas, to meeting the victims of crisis here in the UK, The Queen has been a source of support and comfort to people during some of the toughest times in their lives.”
Queen Elizabeth was a patron of Save the Children for 65 years, before she passed the role over to her daughter, Princess Anne, in 2017.
“We are enormously honoured and grateful that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth served as our Patron from 1952 to 2017,” said Gwen Hines, Chief Executive of Save the Children UK. “During her 65 years as Patron she made an invaluable contribution to building a better world for children. Her passion and dedication will never be forgotten.”
Queen Elizabeth was patron of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust since its inception in 2018. The charity is dedicated to supporting and championing young people across commonwealth countries, and to making a difference to their communities.
“The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust is deeply saddened by the news of the death of our late Patron, Queen Elizabeth II,” said a spokesperson from the charity. “The Queen had promised her whole life would be committed to the service of others, a promise she kept to the very end of her life. As its head, the Queen always believed that the Commonwealth should be a force for good in the world and always remained a champion of its young people. The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust continues this as a living legacy, supporting the young leaders of the Commonwealth.”
The Queen was the patron of the Leonard Cheshire charity since 1980 - that’s over 40 years.
After Leonard Cheshire’s death in 1992, The Queen singled him out personally in one of her well-loved Christmas messages, where she recalled a visit to one of his homes, and praised his dedication to others.
“This shining example of what a human being can achieve in a lifetime of dedication can inspire in the rest of us a belief in our own capacity to help others,” she said.
The Leonard Cheshire charity works to support disabled people in the UK and all across the world.