The end of an era
FaithInvest is deeply sorry to hear of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth on Thursday September 8.
For many people in the UK and across the world, Her Majesty's 70-year reign – the longest in British history – was a rock of stability in a turbulent world. Her constant steadying presence made her an inspiring example of duty, service, purpose and faithfulness.
Our CEO Martin Palmer met the Queen on a number of occasions through his long association with Her Majesty's husband, His Royal Highness the Prince Philip.
Prince Philip was instrumental in the establishment of our founder organisation, the Alliance of Religions and Conservation, and both ARC and the inspiration of Prince Philip led directly to the founding of FaithInvest in 2019.
Martin Palmer met Her Majesty on many occasions, starting from his very first meeting with Prince Philip in 1985 to talk about getting faith groups involved in environmental action – for the first time – to save the planet.
He recalled walking up the corridors of Sandringham, the Queen's Norfolk estate, trying to remember the correct address for Prince Philip, never having met a member of the royal family before.
After the 30-minute meeting turned into a four-hour chat and Martin had missed yet another train home, Prince Philip asked if he'd like a drink. He then opened a door to reveal an unexpectedly domestic scene: the Queen and the Queen Mother watching television next door.
The Queen repeated the offer of a drink. Martin suggested a Bristol cream sherry (being from Bristol himself). 'I'm sorry, Mother has drunk it all,' was the Queen's response. A gin and tonic? 'Sorry, she's drunk that all too,' came back the reply.
That drink (Dubonnet in the end) led to a fascinating two hours chatting to the Queen about faith and faith groups. It was the first of a number of encounters and fascinating conversations with the Queen about the role of faith over the years.
She was an extraordinary woman, he says: 'She was a deeply committed Christian – and head of the Church of England – and loved to meet people for whom faith was a foundation for their social action, for example, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Zoroastrians and others she met through ARC. Her faith shone through and this encouraged others to delve deeply into their own faith to respond.'