Industry pays tribute to monarch who has died at the age of 96 after reign of 70 years

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has died at the age of 96 after a reign of 70 years.

A statement fixed to the gates of Buckingham Palace this evening said: “The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon.

“The King and the Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow.”


Source: Shutterstock

One of the Queen’s last appearances at an industry event was the opening of the Elizabeth Line in May

His Majesty King Charles III said: “The death of my beloved mother, Her Majesty the Queen, is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family.

“We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished sovereign and a much-loved mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.”

Liz Truss, the prime minister, said “we are all devastated” at the news of the Queen’s death, which came as a “huge shock to the nation and the world”.

The Queen’s death comes just two days after she posed for press photographs formally appointing Truss, the 15th prime minister of the monarch’s reign.

>> Also read: The second Elizabethan age: eight decades of building

One of her last appearances at a major industry event was when she opened the Elizabeth Line in May at Paddington Station just before her Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

Her death has prompted scores of tributes from around the world and the UK.

Architect Norman Foster said: “I had the privilege to know Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for the last five decades of her remarkable 70 year reign as our Monarch.


Norman Foster meets the Queen at the official opening of the Sage Gateshead music venue in October 2005

“During that time, myself and colleagues were honoured to welcome her on many occasions when she celebrated projects for which we had been commissioned and, on a more personal level, my greatest honour was, in 1997, to be appointed to the Order of Merit – an award which is in the sole gift of the Sovereign. 

“These various privileges granted me an insight to a lady whose leadership, loyalty and regal humility were faultless, throughout her life and her reign, and endured to the end.”

Paying tribute, RIBA president Simon Allford, said: “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.   

QueenElizabethBarbicanjlp01_08_093374(c) Historic England Archive:John Laing Photographic Collection

Source: Historic England Archive:John Laing Photographic Collection

Queen Elizabeth II in November 1972 at the Barbican on the day of her silver wedding anniversary to unveil a foundation stone for the new Arts Centre that was completed by John Laing

“In her 70 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 and Ray Eames (1979) to Norman Foster (1983), Frank 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.”  

And Wates chairman James Wates added: “At Wates, we are proud to have welcomed Her Majesty to a number of projects over the years, not least when she opened the new Queen Elizabeth Unit at the Royal London Hospital this April.

“Our thoughts are with the Royal family at this sad time. On behalf of the Wates Family and the Wates Group, I would like to pay tribute to Her Majesty for her unparalleled service to this country. We mourn her loss alongside the rest of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth.”

Mark Reynolds, Mace group chief executive and CLC co-chair, said: “In a lifetime of public service, Her Majesty dedicated herself to the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. Her selfless commitment to duty was reflected in the admiration in which she was held, both here in the United Kingdom and globally.

“We know that for millions of people who work in our industry, Her Majesty will have been a central and consistent figure in their lives, a respected monarch whose legacy will inspire future generations. Today, our thoughts are with the Royal Family and all others affected on this saddest of days.”

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In February 2016, the Queen visited the Crossrail site at Bond Street, where she unveiled the new purple Elizabeth Line logo that features across the network

Gleeds worldwide chairman Richard Steer said: “The Queen has been a fixture of reassuring constancy during an ever evolving world; her tireless work ethic, her warmth, dignity and calm were qualities that set her apart and made her unique. The most travelled monarch in history she visited over 100 countries during her lifetime and was rightly revered by people she met globally.

“We have been fortunate to have lived through a period where our monarch has exemplified the most important values of honesty, trust, discipline and commitment from which we can all learn. Therefore at Gleeds we join the world in expressing our deepest condolences to the Royal Family.”

Ed McCann, president of the Institution of Civil Engineers, said: “The Queen became Patron of the Institution upon her ascent to the throne in 1952 until 2017 when she stepped back from a number of patronages. She visited our headquarters at One Great George Street on several occasions. We are immensely grateful for her sustained support, and that of her family.

“Her Majesty has been a reassuring constant in a fast-changing world where most of us have known her as our only sovereign. I know I speak for many thousands of civil engineers around the world when I pay tribute to her extraordinary contribution. She will be greatly missed.”

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