Congratulations are in order for Her Majesty becoming the longest serving British Monarch. It is quite an achievement!
The Queen is the Patron of Scouting and I recently talked to Her Majesty about a ceremony of 2,000 scouts and Second World War veterans I attended for the new Peace Bell to mark the 70th Anniversary of the Second World War at Bayeaux Cathedral, Normandy, France. Engraved on the bell are nine god parents from the nine nations that participated in the D-Day landing and the Battle of Normandy: UK, USA, Canada, Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, Norway, Germany, and France. The Queen was chosen to represent the UK because she served in the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service. One scout from each of the nine countries rang the bell following its unveiling. I was thrilled to be chosen to represent the UK and was the first one to ring the bell and I gave two speeches. The entire service was a moving experience.
I enjoyed giving the Queen photographs of the service and discussing the event with her recently. The Queen was 13 years old when the Second World War broke out on 3 September, 1939 and she was staying at Balmoral Castle Scotland at the time. It was an honour to be 13 years old and at Balmoral a few weeks ago to present the Queen with photos of the new Peace Bell honouring Her Majesty and the UK’s efforts in the war. She was very interested in hearing about the event and asked questions.
I had last spoken to the Queen in February and when she walked up to me a couple weeks ago she said, “Oh, you have grown, haven’t you!” She probably also noticed my hair has grown too as I’m growing it for the Little Princess Trust to donate it to a child with cancer. Maybe people can donate to their favourite charity to mark the Queen’s long reign. The Queen is a brilliant person and she has an infectious smile. She makes me proud to be British and proud to be a scout.
Freedom Scott Tansley, writer of this month’s Star Letter, meeting the Queen