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Royals in Raffles

by Koh Lih Tiong Nicholas

Queen Elizabeth II walking down the Foyer Corridor and welcomed by Rafflesians.

As the longest-reigning monarch in British History of 70 years, millions all over the world mourn Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II after her peaceful passing on the 8th of September, 2022. With the 10 days of funeral proceedings ongoing now, documentaries, accounts, and photographs of encounters with her flood the media. But did you know, Rafflesians have a proud encounter with her as well?

At the invitation of the then President and Mrs Wee Kim Wee in 1989, the Queen made the second of what would be a total of three State Visits to Singapore. During that visit, the Queen herself graced the corridors of the Raffles Hall Foyer and sat at our Raffles Hall Communal Hall, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip.

Where Rafflesians now walk past daily, Rafflesians then entertained a great British monarch, performing a skit filled with singing and dancing. Raffles Hall was indeed immensely privileged to host Her Majesty 33 years ago.

Queen Elizabeth II on the Communal Hall Stage watching the performance put up by Rafflesians,

With such a great historical figure once in our midst, the Communal Hall stage is most definitely legendary. Such a reminder brings pride to all Rafflesians who continue performing their best on that very stage till today.

Perhaps the loss of a monarch seems inconsequential to us today, with most never meeting her before and unable to experience her character in a personal capacity. However, as we keep in mind this great honour we bore in hosting Her Majesty, let us uphold the great tradition of excellence in the culture here in Raffles Hall and continuously pursue the same excellence in every field.

Above: The Dendrobium Elizabeth was loaned to the British High Commissioner’s Officer after the passing of Her Majesty; Image credit: AFP

Besides Raffles Hall, Her Majesty also visited places such as a family’s HDB flat on two separate occasions, Townsville Primary School and Hillman restaurant (a local zichar restaurant). The Dendrobium Elizabeth, a yellow-green Orchid species, was also named in her honour during her first State Visit in 1972. A Singapore-made camera and a gold-and-diamond brooch are said to be some of her favourite gifts from Singapore. Her last visit was in 2006, and she reaffirmed the excellent bilateral ties between Britain and Singapore.

Phoenix Press extends our deepest and sincerest condolences to the British Royal Family and the people of the United Kingdom.

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