Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the longest reigning British monarch and Master of the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets, was the Patron of The Seafarers’ Charity for over 70 years.

We share deep sadness of her passing and extend our sincere condolences to His Majesty the King Charles III, our President His Royal Highness the Earl of Wessex and to the entire Royal Family.

We remain grateful to Her Majesty for supporting the Charity and the men and women of the seafaring community, past, present and future and have been incredibly proud to call Her Majesty our Patron for the entirety of her reign.

See our full statement

Book of Condolence and Remembrance

Please leave your message of condolence by completing this form. We would also love to hear any recollections you may have of our late Patron, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, during your seafaring career or in relation to our Charity. If you have any photographs you would like to share, please feel free to email them to marcomms@theseafarerscharity.org.


A selection of the messages will be used on The Seafarers' Charity website, in our magazine, on social media, and also saved in our archives.

The Seafarers’ Charity, established in 1917, was supported by Her Majesty's grandfather, King George V, who gave us our original name, King George’s Fund for Sailors (KGFS). Queen Elizabeth II has been involved with our Charity through a number of public engagements before becoming our Patron in 1952, ahead of her coronation.

Since accession too, The Queen has been Master of the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets. HM King George V instituted this appointment in 1928 in recognition of the merchant service’s contribution in peace and war, elevating it to the level of the Armed Forces by having a member of the Royal Family as its Head.

From our archives, we have picked a selection of key moments in our history to celebrate the memory of our late Patron and the Royal Family’s momentous milestones and support to our Charity.

During the First World War, thousands of lives were lost at sea – many of them young sailors – and the public wanted to support those who were fighting, as well as their dependants. A central organisation, called the Sailor’s Fund, was established to help direct the funds.

Our early fundraising activities sparked the interest of HM King George V. His supporting donation of £5,200 saw us become the King George’s Fund for Sailors on 5 July 1917.

1936

HM King George V, the Charity’s first Patron, died at Sandringham House, aged 70. He was succeeded as Patron later that year by the Charity’s then President, who became King George VI.

1946

Princess Elizabeth made her first public appearance at a charity ball when she attended the Royal and Merchant Navy Ball in aid of the King George’s Fund for Sailors at the Dorchester Hotel and was pictured dancing with Captain Lord Rupert Nevill.

1952

HM Queen Elizabeth II became Patron of King George’s Fund for Sailors, prior to her coronation on 2 June 1953.

1953

HM The Queen unveiled the Second World War extension of the Tower Hill Memorial in London. It commemorated the 36,000 men and women of the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets who have no grave but the sea.

1967

HM Queen Elizabeth II congratulated King George’s Fund for Sailors on our 50th anniversary with a message from Buckingham Palace wishing the charity ‘continued success in our great work’.

1971

HRH the Duke of Edinburgh attended a KGFS fundraising evening as a guest of honour, which raised a record £16,000 for the Fund.

1978

Our late Patron, HM The Queen, approved the appointment of Admiral of the Fleet HRH Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh to succeed his uncle as President of KGFS.

2011

His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex KG GCVO became President of the Charity.

2017

The Charity celebrated its 100th anniversary with a range of commemorative events and a major conference to set a clear path for the future provision of charitable services to the maritime community.

2022

On 6 February 2022, Her Majesty The Queen became the first British Monarch to mark 70 years on the throne and celebrate a Platinum Jubilee.

'Despite many advances and improvements in ship design and navigational aid, the power and unpredictability of the sea are unchanged; the welfare issues which may afflict seafarers and their families are exacerbated by a harsh and dangerous working environment often far away from home and loved ones.’

- HM The Queen, on the occasion of The Seafarers’ Charity’s Centenary

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