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Royal patronage

Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother at the unveiling of her portrait, 1955 (Ref: Q/PH2/11)Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother at the unveiling of her portrait, 1955 (Ref: Q/PH2/11)Queen Elizabeth College enjoyed the patronage and support of several generations of the royal family. From its inception, the establishment of the Household and Social Science Department at King's College for Women was of great interest to Queen Mary, who felt the development of this initiative for the higher education of women to be of much importance.

Following the naming of the student residence - Queen Mary Hostel - in her honour, The Queen's first visit to the College took place on 18 February 1916, and in subsequent years she provided a scholarship to the Three Year Course, intended to benefit one student during the war years.

Later royal visits followed in 1920 and again in 1931, following which the College received photographs of Queen Mary and copies of famous portraits and landscapes in the Royal Collections. These were in addition to other regular gifts, including books, magazines and journals such as Architectural Review, Antiquaries Journal and Archaeologia, which ran until her death in 1953.

Queen Mother at Jubilee celebrations, 1958 (Ref: Q/PH2/32)Queen Mother at Jubilee celebrations, 1958 (Ref: Q/PH2/32)The College also received considerable royal support from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, whose first visit took place on 22 June 1955. The Queen Mother inspected the work of the College and viewed, in the College Refectory, the portrait of herself – wearing the blue ribbon of the Garter – which had been painted by Mr Maurice Codner and presented to the College by Women’s Journal.

During her visit, The Queen Mother stated how glad she was that the College which bore her name should be the first she had visited since her election as Chancellor of the University of London, and paid tribute to the work of Sir John Atkins, mentioning that the institution of degrees of BSc Household Science and BSc Nutrition were recognition of the importance of subjects which the College had always taught.

The Queen Mother also attended Golden Jubilee celebrations at the College on 30 April 1958, and provided an additional social highlight in 1970, when she accepted an invitation to the annual Commemoration Ball and danced several times with a number of students to a band from the Grenadier Guards.

For more images of royal visits, see our gallery.

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