Queen Elizabeth II has been remembered for the way she “tirelessly championed nurses and nursing issues” in tributes pouring in from across the profession following her death.
Her Majesty died peacefully at Balmoral, aged 96, on Thursday afternoon.
“Her Majesty was admired and respected by nursing staff from across the world for the way she tirelessly championed nurses”
Her son, now King Charles III said the death of his beloved mother was “a moment of great sadness” for him and his family and that her loss would be “deeply felt” throughout the country and around the world.
The Queen was the UK’s longest-serving monarch, and this year marked her 70-year reign during the Platinum Jubilee.
Nursing Times marked the jubilee by speaking with seven nurses who qualified at varying times during her rule.
Following her coronation in 1953, the Queen became a full patron of the Royal College of Nursing.
On behalf of the RCN, chief executive and general secretary Pat Cullen said: “I would like to express my deepest condolences and great sadness at the loss of Queen Elizabeth II.
“We have lost a dedicated Queen and Royal Patron. She will be missed by nursing staff across the UK.”
The RCN said it recognised the “long connection” the Queen had held with the nursing community.
As a princess, she became president of the college’s Student Nurses’ Association in 1944 and opened a new RCN library in 1945.
She also attended the premiere of the Florence Nightingale movie, The Lady with a Lamp, in 1951 to aid the college’s educational funds, the RCN noted.
As Queen, she also officially opened the RCN Scotland Board’s new headquarters in Edinburgh in 1994.
“During her reign the Queen visited nursing staff in hospitals and in the community, taking the time to speak to them and to listen to their experiences,” added Ms Cullen.
“She saw nursing evolve from World War II and the Blitz to the dynamic and modern profession it is today.”
RCN president Dr Denise Chaffer said: “Her Majesty was admired and respected by nursing staff from across the world for the way she tirelessly championed nurses and nursing issues.
“As patron of the RCN, she met with thousands of nursing staff and always took enormous interest in our work. The royal family are in our thoughts at this very difficult time.”
Meanwhile, chief executive and registrar of the Nursing and Midwifery Council, Andrea Sutcliffe, said: “As the longest reigning monarch in British history, there are generations of people who have never known life without Queen Elizabeth II.
“That’s why people around the world will be mourning her loss, including many of our NMC colleagues and the professionals on our register. We offer our sincere condolences to Queen Elizabeth’s family at this difficult time.”
Ms Sutcliffe added: “Hers was a lifetime of service, including a special moment in our history when she opened our refurbished building at 23 Portland Place on 18 December 1986.
“We thank her for her dedication, her commitment and her leadership. May she rest in peace.”
Meanwhile, the Florence Nightingale Foundation also paid tribute to the Queen and highlighted the way she “shone a light on the nursing and midwifery professions”.
“The Royal Family’s connection with nursing dates back to Florence Nightingale,” the foundation said on the social media site Twitter. It added. “We extend our sincere condolences to the Royal Family.”
Nurses have also been taking to social media to pay their own personal tributes to Her Majesty.
Craig Davidson, a senior health nurse in Scotland and former Nursing Times student editor, wrote on Twitter: “I feel so sad. A devoted, steadfast, dutiful monarch until the end. Bless the Queen. We will never see her like again.”