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Maritime charities pay tribute to their British Royal Patron ahead of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee

31 May 2022

Maritime charities with the British monarch as their Patron have paid tributes in honour of her support over a 70 year reign.

Both The Seafarers' Charity and Sailors' Society have dug into their archives to pick a selection of key moments for celebrating Queen Elizabeth II's patronage, and that of the Royal Family's momentous milestones and support in online photo libraries.

The Seafarers' Charity, established in 1917, was supported by the Queen's grandfather, King George V, who gave the charity its original name, the King George's Fund for Sailors (KGFS). Queen Elizabeth II was involved with the Charity through a number of public engagements before becoming its Patron in 1952, ahead of her coronation on 2 June 1953.

As Princess Elizabeth, the Queen made her first public appearance at the Royal and Merchant Navy charity ball in aid of the King George's Fund for Sailors at the London Dorchester Hotel and was pictured dancing with Captain Lord Rupert Nevill.

Pictured right dancing as Princess Elizabeth with Captain Lord Rupert Nevill. Image: The Seafarers' Charity

On The Seafarers' Charity's centenary in 2017, the Queen paid tribute to the charity's work: 'Despite many advances and improvements in ship design and navigational aid, the power and unpredictability of the sea are unchanged; the welfare issues which may afflict seafarers and their families are exacerbated by a harsh and dangerous working environment often far away from home and loved ones.'

The Queen has also been the Sailors' Society Patron for the 70 years she has reigned. Their archives reveal numerous articles and photographs of engagements she performed with and for the Society. Editions of its magazine dating back through eight generations of the British monarchy show notable dates over the Queen's reign.


The 2016 Queen's 90th birthday street party, 'The Patron's Lunch', in London, which honoured HM's patronage of more than 600 charities and organisations worldwide. Image: Sailors' Society

As part of the Jubilee celebrations, many of The Mission to Seafarers' ports around the world are planting trees in honour of its Patron as part of the Queen's Green Canopy initiative. On 4 March, HRH The Princess Royal visited its seafarers centre in Rotterdam and helped to plant a tree outside the centre.

In a statement The Mission to Seafarers said: 'We know the significant value of plants and gardens to mental health and therefore feel this project will not only commemorate our Patron's 70-year reign but it will also have positive mental health benefits for seafarers.'

The charity's secretary general the Reverend Canon Andrew Wright said: 'All in The Mission to Seafarers global community join in paying tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth on the occasion of her Platinum Jubilee.

'As our Patron, we owe a particular debt of gratitude. Her extraordinary 70 years on the throne has been marked by a sustained depth and quality of service and by the deep and compassionate faith which has undergirded it. These qualities are amongst those which have inspired so many across the world and to which we ourselves aspire as an organisation. I have written to Her Majesty to assure her of our prayers and good wishes for the future.'

Nautilus Mariners' Park resident Sheena Shaw and staff at the Queen's Green Canopy tree planting initiative. Image: Nautilus International

At the Nautilus Welfare Fund charity's estate for retired seafarers and their dependants – Mariners' Park – the Platinum Jubilee was also marked with a tree planting by long-term resident Sheena Shaw, the daughter of a seafarer, who helped dig in an oak sapling.

'I have been in the Park for 65 years and counting but this oak tree will grow strong and flourish for far more years than that – a reminder to future Park residents that we, at this time, commemorate the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.'