We Remember – Queen Elizabeth II

As we prepare to say a final farewell to our monarch, we share with you some of our memories of her early visits to South Australia.

The Adelaide Hospital was granted its “Royal” prefix in 1939 by His Majesty the King, George VI. In 1954 his daughter and successor, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II paid her first visit to South Australia as its monarch, along with her husband His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip. It was only fitting that the royal procession passed by the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

The Board Minutes of the Royal Adelaide Hospital record:

A memorable event for the patients and staff of the Royal Adelaide Hospital, in common with all other members of the community, was the visit to South Australia of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh. Portion of the route of the Royal Progress, through the streets of Adelaide, lay along North Terrace, and a reserved space was set aside in front of the hospital for both patients and staff. An excellent view of the Royal couple was obtained from this vantage point by all those patients who could be brought to the area, many of whom were in their beds. This was made possible to a great extent through excellent co-operation of the medical, nursing, lay, and domestic staffs. As the hospital is under Royal patronage, the whole arrangement was most gratifying and was appreciated by all concerned.

Prince Philip waved to the crowd as the royal couple passed by the Royal Adelaide Hospital. In the background is the west wing of Ayers House.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II also visited The Queen Elizabeth Hospital on her next visit in 1963. The hospital which bears her name was officially opened by The Queen Mother in 1958.

A duplicate of the consent from Queen Elizabeth II for the hospital to use her name. This copy is signed by Sir Alexander Lyell McEwin KBE. The original is also signed by Her Majesty “Elizabeth R”, or Elizabeth Regina, and is on display in the main entrance of the hospital underneath her portrait.
Her Majesty inspecting a portrait of herself which was unveiled by The Queen Mother in 1958 at the official opening of the hospital. This portrait along with her consent (see picture above) are on display in the main entrance of the hospital.
Upon learning of the death of their beloved queen, members of the staff and public left flowers and gifts under her portrait in the main entrance. A condolence book was filled with heartfelt messages for the royal family.

The team at the Health Museum express gratitude for the life of Queen Elizabeth II. She will be remembered not only as a monarch, but a woman of strength, courage and integrity. Our sincere condolences to the royal family and household.

Photographs by the Health Museum of SA and Jacquelyne Ladner. All rights reserved.

Written by Jacquelyne Ladner, CALHN Health Museum