Cllr Linda Chung remembers encounters with our "warm and friendly" Queen RIP

September 13, 2022 9:34 AM
By Cllr Linda Chung in Ham and High
Originally published by Chinese Liberal Democrats

Queen at Camden Chinese Community CentreIt was a shock we heard Her Majesty had died. In the images we saw of her greeting the new PM, only three days before, she looked frail, but beautiful and radiant.

We look back on her long life, and memories flood in. Mine include those on the two occasions I met her. They reflect to me, the influence of her as a family woman and as the powerful sovereign of the UK.

In October 2005 she came to open the newly built UCH in Euston Road. The line up included me as a non-executive director of UCLH; it was significant, we were proud to declare that after the years of change with the reconfiguration of the group, the hospital had been built on time and on budget.

We waited in line following the chair, CEO, chief nurse, etc. The non-executive directors were fairly low in the pecking order. We had been briefed on manners: to do a bit of a curtsey I think for women, but not to say anything unless we were spoken to.

By the time she reached us, I'm ashamed to say that I totally forgot protocol, and actually said: "Hello ma'am, how lovely to meet you."

I have been teased ever since for stepping out of line.

She came to open our Chinese Community Centre on November 5, 2005 when I saw a different side to her.

She was warm and friendly, and in the small open courtyard, and then visiting inside, we couldn't help but be gently crowded around her, the few lucky members permitted to attend, eager and delighted to see her.

The two visits to me symbolise the woman she was, supremely powerful as the sovereign of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth. Prince Harry fondly called her "the Boss". We obeyed her command.

In visiting our centre we saw the human side of her, as the head of a family who loved her. She praised our work with the elderly, with families and children, and its social and cultural aspects. She leaves us all indelible memories. May Her Majesty rest in peace.

Linda Chung (Lib Dem) is a Camden councillor for Hampstead Town ward.