Queen’s Nurses at Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Funeral
22 September 2022 | Steph Lawrence MBE and Sharon Aldrige-Bent MBE
We were delighted that some Queen’s Nurses were invited to the funeral of Her Majesty the Queen.
The following QNs who were invited to attend the funeral had received the award of MBE from Her Majesty in the Jubilee Year:
- Sharon Aldridge-Bent
- Steph Lawrence
- Tina Jegede
Please note, the QNI was not involved in the selection of those who received an invitation to attend the ceremony.
We were also extremely proud to hear of the Queen’s Nurses who attended the Lying in State and funeral procession in London and in Windsor, and those QNs who attended regional events around the country.
Two Queen’s Nurses recount their experience of attending HM The Queen’s funeral below:
Steph Lawrence MBE, Executive Director of Nursing and Allied Health Professionals, Leeds Community Healthcare and Leeds GP Confederation, FQNI and Queen’s Nurse
‘I had the unbelievable honour of attending the state funeral of Her Majesty the Queen on Monday 19th September 2022.
I received the telephone call inviting me from the Cabinet Office whilst out doing clinical work. To say I was shocked is an understatement. I had been chosen as a recent recipient of an MBE in the Queens Birthday Jubilee Honours and in particular as I represented community in the NHS.
This was followed up with a formal invitation from the Palace and a flurry of buying and borrowing activity to make sure I had the right attire for such an amazing occasion!
I set off to London with hundreds of other people on Sunday and stayed overnight. The day of the funeral started at 05:30am to make sure I could get across London to the meeting point in good time. There followed all the security checks and queueing to get through. The atmosphere was amazing and everyone was incredibly friendly. The whole operation was amazingly smooth, and I have never seen as many Police and Security Personnel in my whole life!
Arriving at the Abbey was a surreal moment that I shared with a colleague from the Queen’s Nursing Institute. We were guided to our seats right next to the Great West Door where all the congregation arrived over the following three hours. We were so close to people I had only ever seen on television, and it was just incredible to watch the procession of world leaders including presidents and royals and then our very own royal family. What hit me was that this is a family just like mine earlier this year saying goodbye to their Mum, Grandma, Great Grandma, Cousin etc. but doing so in such a public way. Cameras pointed on them from every direction and the eyes of not just those in the Abbey but across the world through the medium of television.
The service was beautiful and moving. A traditional Christian service but with leaders of all faiths represented in the Abbey. The music, the readings and the hymns all chosen to reflect the life of an amazing leader and our Queen of 70 years. A leader who committed herself to public duty at the age of 21 and never wavered from that.
I am still pinching myself that I was actually there and feel so incredibly honoured to have represented nursing, community and of course The Queen’s Nursing Institute at this most incredible event. I am so grateful for this opportunity and honoured that I was there to represent all of us.’
What hit me was that this is a family just like mine earlier this year saying goodbye to their Mum, Grandma, Great Grandma, Cousin etc. but doing so in such a public way. Cameras pointed on them from every direction and the eyes of not just those in the Abbey but across the world through the medium of television.Steph Lawrence MBE, QN
Sharon Aldridge-Bent MBE, Director of Nursing Programmes (Leadership), The QNI and Queen’s Nurse
‘Today I witnessed history.
The Saturday afternoon after the Queen had died, I was hanging out the washing on the line when my mobile phone rang. It was from private number, and I almost didn’t answer as I thought it was someone trying to sell me something. I answered and it was a man from the cabinet office informing me that as a recent recipient of an honour from Her Majesty The Queen, that I was being invited to her state funeral. It was the Queen’s wishes that we attend to represent the communities for which I had been awarded. I received my MBE for services to community nursing. I was astounded to think that even in her EoL advanced planning, the Queen continued to remember the people that she served.
I received my invitation in the post recorded delivery the day before the funeral, it contained a long list of requirements both in terms of security and dress. I made sure that I was wearing my Queen’s Nurse badge and wore it with a great deal of pride. I also felt grateful to the QNI, as without my connection with this organisation and the opportunities I have been afforded, I would not have been in this position.
It was a very early start on the day, and I knew I had to get there on time as everything had to go like clockwork. I met with fellow QN Steph Lawrence once I cleared security and we managed to get a front row seat right next to the North door where the whole procession was taking place, we could hardly believe it.
As we sat and observed everyone arrive, I realised I was living in a moment in time and this event would be recorded in history books. It was an incredibly humbling experience to be there with so many mixed emotions around ‘endings’ and the ‘passing of time’. It made me think of my own 94-year-old mother and the life she had lived during this era and her struggles as a Jamaican woman coming to England in 1950s.
The passing of our Queen filled me with a huge sense of loss and a degree of uncertainty as she had been a constant in our lives and what would be next. I also felt a great sense of gratitude and that she has served her time – “May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.” RIP HM Elizabeth II.’
As we sat and observed everyone arrive, I realised I was living in a moment in time and this event would be recorded in history books. It was an incredibly humbling experience to be there with so many mixed emotions around ‘endings’ and the ‘passing of time’.Sharon Aldridge-Bent MBE, QN
Book of Condolence
To sign our online Book of Condolences, visit: https://qni.org.uk/queen-elizabeth-ii-book-of-condolences/