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Monthly blog from RCOG President – September 2022

16 Sept 2022

Dr Eddie Morris writes to the membership

Last week when the news of Her Late Majesty’s passing was announced, I wrote to our global membership to express my profound sadness at the news.

More than a week has passed and while the sense of loss is no less great, I have had the opportunity to hear from so many of you about what the Queen meant to you all, and how through the work of our College you feel an implicit connection to the Royal Family.

As a Royal College, we have been trying as best we can to continue with our important work, while being respectful during this period of national mourning. You will have heard very little from us over the last seven days with all our communications paused, and we have held moments of silence and reflected on Her Late Majesty’s considerable impact on our work in meetings of Council and in our membership ceremonies. We have also worked hard to manage the challenges to planned activities that were due to take place on Monday, the day of the Queen’s funeral and a day of remembrance here in the UK and around the world.

As we move towards the end of the period of official mourning I wanted to write to you with my own reflections.

I know our Trainees, Fellows, Members, Council and Officers of the RCOG all join the many millions of people across the globe in paying tribute to a much-loved and respected monarch; a figure known for her profound sense of duty and devotion to her country and the Commonwealth. Her loss will be felt greatly, and her service remembered always.

As a Royal College with 16,000 members, many from Commonwealth countries, we are proud of our connection to the Royal Family and the support it brings.

The Queen opened our College building in Sussex Place in July 1960 and we are recipients of an impressive Terence Cuneo painting which commemorates that moment. Hanging in pride of place in our building in Union Street, it remains a treasured possession, something that as Fellows and Members we are all proud to have in our collection.

As well as the Queen, the other star of the picture is undoubtedly the small girl you can see to Her Majesty’s right hand side. This little girl was no more than four years old, attending the event with her mother. Well, in 2010 we managed to track this little girl down, in her mid-fifties at the time and living in the Bahamas and we found out her name was Annabel. She told us that having completed her curtsy and given the Queen the bouquet of flowers she proceeded to whisper to the Queen, much to the horror of all present, that if she walked backwards down the stairs as formality instructed she would fall over and may she please turn around, to which of course Her Majesty answered yes of course!

This was just one occasion when we welcomed Her Majesty to our College, but there were many others as captured so wonderfully here.

Earlier this year, we enjoyed a double royal visit by our Patron Her Royal Highness the new Princess of Wales alongside the Princess Royal. They toured our building in Union Street and permitted us to present to them highlights of our valuable work. It was truly a day of celebration, in contrast to the sense of loss so many of us around the world are feeling during this period of mourning.

At the same time, we mark a new moment in our national landscape, the welcoming of a new monarch, His Majesty King Charles III. It’s a poignant reminder to us all that private grief is mixed with public duty for the Royal Family.

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