Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II died yesterday at the age of 96 after and over 70 years to the throne.
This is the tribute with which RIBA President, Simon Allford, pays tribute to the remarkable life of this icon:
“On behalf of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), I send our deepest condolences to the Royal Family on the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
I sincerely thank Her Majesty for her unwavering support and patronage of our institute during her 70-year reign, a role she inherited from her father and one occupied by every monarch since Queen Victoria.
Architecture has undergone huge evolution during the Queen’s seven decades on the throne. At the time of her coronation, following the devastation of WW2, architecture was all about welfare state-sponsored modernism as we entered a brave new world. Today, we’re prioritising innovative, low-carbon design that can meet the challenges of an uncertain future. Throughout these turbulent years, Her Majesty’s steady influence and calm assured presence has been a vital constant for our profession throughout the Commonwealth and beyond.
In her seventy years, she personally opened (and reopened) an impressive list of buildings, with foundation stones and plaques recording her presence in almost every continent. She cut the ribbons of the British Library, Scottish Parliament, Senedd Cymru and Sydney Opera House, as well as our own Heinz Gallery – the former home of our Drawings Collection – in 1972. Over the next quarter-century, this gallery would host nearly 130 exhibitions that inspired the next generation of great architects and showcased pioneering work in architectural conservation.
Each year Her Majesty also personally approved the Royal Gold Medal for Architecture, celebrating the lifetime achievements of many of the world’s greatest architectural talents – from Le Corbusier (1953) and Charles & Ray Eames (1979) to Norman Foster (1983), Frank Owen Gehry (2000), Rem Koolhaas (2004), Dame Zaha Hadid (2016) and most recently Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi (2022).
In doing so, Her Majesty demonstrated support for the advancement of architecture.
Our thoughts are with the Royal Family, the Nation and Commonwealth as we collectively mourn Her Majesty’s death and celebrate her remarkable life.”
Cover photo: Queen Elizabeth II. Photo: Royals UK