Simon Allford describes monarch as a “vital constant” during her 70-year reign


Queen Elizabeth II died yesterday at the age of 96

RIBA president Simon Allford has paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, who died yesterday after a reign of 70 years.

Allford said the Queen’s “steady influence and calm, assured presence” had been a “vital constant” for the architectural profession during the turbulent years of her reign.

The AHMM co-founder also thanked the 96-year-old monarch for her “unwavering” patronage of RIBA, a royal chartered institution.

Queen Elizabeth died peacefully at Balmoral, her Scottish estate, surrounded by members of her family. She has been succeeded by her son, King Charles III, who is due to arrive back in London today with his wife, Queen Consort Camilla.

> Also read: The second Elizabethan age: eight decades in architecture

Simon Allford’s tribute to Queen Elizabeth II

“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.   

Simon Allford

Source: Jean Goldsmith

RIBA president Simon Allford

“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.”