Maxine Fennell



It only felt like yesterday (actually 34 years ago) that my name was picked out of a hat to present the Queen with a book...

It only felt like yesterday (actually 34 years ago) that my name was picked out of a hat to present the Queen with a book our school had made to celebrate her birthday. 


To say I was made up, was an understatement.


I won't pretend to remember the event in all its detail (I was only 6 at the time), but I do remember her making me feel very relaxed as she admired my Thomas the tank engine top.


Whether you are monarchist or not, I think we can all agree that she was dedicated to a life of service and was working right up to the very end.


She tirelessly championed nurses and nursing issues.  


Although bitter sweet, some of us were fortunate to witness Charles' accession which happened to take place just below our office.


Picture below

Following her coronation in 1953, the Queen became a full patron of the Royal College of Nursing.


On behalf of the RCN, chief executive and general secretary Pat Cullen said: “I would like to express my deepest condolences and great sadness at the loss of Queen Elizabeth II.


“We have lost a dedicated Queen and Royal Patron. She will be missed by nursing staff across the UK.”


The RCN said it recognised the “long connection” the Queen had held with the nursing community.


As a princess, she became president of the college’s Student Nurses’ Association in 1944 and opened a new RCN library in 1945.


She also attended the premiere of the Florence Nightingale movie, The Lady with a Lamp, in 1951 to aid the college’s educational funds, the RCN noted.  

As Queen, she also officially opened the RCN Scotland Board’s new headquarters in Edinburgh in 1994.


“During her reign the Queen visited nursing staff in hospitals and in the community, taking the time to speak to them and to listen to their experiences,” added Ms Cullen.


“She saw nursing evolve from World War II and the Blitz to the dynamic and modern profession it is today.”


RCN president Dr Denise Chaffer said: “Her Majesty was admired and respected by nursing staff from across the world for the way she tirelessly championed nurses and nursing issues.


“As patron of the RCN, she met with thousands of nursing staff and always took enormous interest in our work. The royal family are in our thoughts at this very difficult time.”


The Queen's Nursing Institute has also paid tribute to the Her Majesty and recognised the "outstanding" support she gave to the charity as its royal patron and to the profession more widely.


Meanwhile, chief executive and registrar of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, Andrea Sutcliffe, said: “As the longest reigning monarch in British history, there are generations of people who have never known life without Queen Elizabeth II.


“That’s why people around the world will be mourning her loss, including many of our NMC colleagues and the professionals on our register. We offer our sincere condolences to Queen Elizabeth’s family at this difficult time.”


Ms Sutcliffe added: “Hers was a lifetime of service, including a special moment in our history when she opened our refurbished building at 23 Portland Place on 18 December 1986.


“We thank her for her dedication, her commitment and her leadership. May she rest in peace.”