We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, at the age of 96. Under the patronage of Her Majesty, between 1953 and 2018, the Society grew into a vibrant and outward-facing organisation, one that celebrates literature for everyone.

Alongside 15 Prime Ministers, the Queen oversaw seven Poets Laureate in John Masefield, Cecil Day-Lewis, John Betjeman, Ted Hughes, Andrew Motion, Carol Ann Duffy and Simon Armitage.

In the summer of 2018, when Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall took on patronage of the RSL and attended a celebration of Fellows, she quoted George IV, the Society’s founder, as saying that the ‘highest of distinctions is service to others’. This, the Duchess said, was ‘a noble sentiment and one, we know, that the Queen has lived throughout her long life.’

The thoughts of the Royal Society of Literature are with the Queen’s family at this time.