Her Majesty The Queen and the RFS

The Royal Forestry Society was honoured to be represented at the State funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Her Majesty The Queen was a much loved and active Patron of the RFS for 70 years.

By Wendy Necar · September 21, 2022

Her Majesty pictured above at the 2008 celebration of the RFS 125th anniversary. (Picture credit: David Hartley)

Our President Sir James Scott was among 2,000 invited guests at Westminster Abbey.

Her Majesty’s patronage covered almost half of the 140 years the RFS has been in existence. During that time she memorably met many RFS Members at a wide range of RFS events.

Her interest in forests, woods and trees shone throughout her reign. She personally planted more than 1,500 trees around the world. Her Majesty established the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy in 2015 and then the Queen’s Green Canopy to mark her Platinum Jubilee in 2022.

The following are some of our most treasured memories with her:  

6th May 1968, during the Society’s Whole Society Meeting, Her Majesty attended the visit to Valley Gardens at Great Windsor Park (pictured above). Johnston Edwards was the Society’s President. The Queen met members of the Society in the Savill Gardens, where she planted a magnolia (M. sprengeri ‘Diva’) commemorating the visit. Read the QJF report here.

In May 1982 the RFS celebrated its centenary. There was a reception in the Savill Gardens in the presence of The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.  The Queen received specially bound copies of ‘A History of British Forestry’ and ‘A Forestry Centenary’. They were presented by author and Past President NDG James.  A commemorative ornamental pear (Pyrus calleryana chanticleer) was planted in the Jubilee Garden. Her Majesty also sent the RFS her Loyal Congratulations on reaching our Centenary. Read the report here.

On 27th July 1982, by kind invitation of The Queen, the Society’s London Division visited Buckingham Palace gardens. Following the tour, Her Majesty received members inside the palace. That same year she visited the Three Counties show and met members on our stand.

In 1992 RFS President David Davenport presented Her Majesty with an oak bench and garden seat to mark her Ruby Jubilee – the 40th Anniversary of her accession to the throne. The seat was made from coast redwood from our Charles Ackers Redwood Grove at Leighton.

On 4th June 2002 President The Lord Clinton DL represented the RFS at Queen’s Golden Jubilee service of thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral.

In May 2005 during the Society’s Whole Society Meeting, members visited the Sandringham Estate woodlands at the kind invitation of The Queen.

On 7th November 2008 we celebrated the RFS’s 125th anniversary. Her Majesty, accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh (the Ranger of Windsor Great Park), attended a reception hosted by RFS President John Besent OBE at the Savill Building. In the nearby Queen’s Avenue a Cypress Oak (Quercus robur f.fastigiata) was planted to mark the occasion. John Besent remembers the day here.

In February 2013 President Nick Halsey and Vice President Andrew Woods visited Buckingham Palace. They presented a Windsor Chair to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

On June 12th 2016, President Sophie Churchill represented the RFS at celebrations for Her Majesty’s 90th birthday. The Mall in St James’s Park hosted the largest ever street party to celebrate The Queen’s patronage of over 600 charities and organisations.

On 1 September 2016 the RFS gifted Her Majesty an oak sapling to mark her 90th birthday. It was grafted from the oldest tree in Windsor Park, a 1,300 year old oak tree. It was planted in the grounds of Windsor Park by President Sophie Churchill and the Governor of Windsor Castle, Admiral Sir James Perowne.

In October 2021 Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales unveiled The Queen’s Green Canopy Jubilee Junior Forester Award at Balmoral Castle. The unveiling marked the start of the official tree planting season.

On 1 May 2022  our Hockeridge and Pancake woods were among 70 named to form an Ancient Canopy network to be dedicated to The Queen as part of the Platinum Jubilee.

On June 3 2022 our President Sir James Scott representing the RFS at a special Jubilee service at St Paul’s Cathedral and gave a reading

The RFS has been greatly honoured to have had the continuous patronage of the sovereign since 1905 when King Edward VII consented to become Patron. He was followed by King George V, King Edward VIII and King George VI.