Queen becomes Britain’s longest reigning monarch

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“To fly to serve, Ma’am”: British airways crew celebrate the queen becoming the longest serving British monarch.

British Airways pilots, cabin crew and ground staff – past and present – who have had the honour of flying the Queen came together at Heathrow Airport in London to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen becoming Britain’s longest reigning Monarch on September 9.

Wearing the uniforms they would have worn when they flew with The Queen, 30 crew gathered at Terminal 5 yesterday (Wednesday, September 2) to raise a flag in honour of Her Majesty reaching this historical milestone.

Bob Godfrey, 79, a retired chief steward, who was pictured in 1972 greeting The Queen as she stepped off a flight from Heathrow to Turkey, said: “I had the honour of serving Her Majesty on two separate flights; once in 1972 and again in 1990. We all felt so proud when we boarded the aircraft and couldn’t believe our Queen would shortly be coming on board.”

Patricia Pearce MBE, who joined BOAC (British Airways’ long-haul predecessor) in 1962 – a year before Elizabeth II was crowned – and served The Queen on her scheduled two-week Royal visit to New Zealand in 1974, said: “The trip ended up lasting almost two months because the Heath government was brought down in the middle of the trip so the Royal couple had to come back to the UK and then fly back out again. I will always remember standing on the tarmac at Honolulu late at night as the plane taxied round the corner with the Royal Standard flying out the top of the aircraft.”

Jane Ainley, 47, long-haul cabin crew, who served The Queen on the flight home from Perth following her state visit to Australia in 2011 said: “I was thrilled to be asked to serve on a Royal flight from Perth to London which was the first non-stop flight between Australia and the UK. My father also had the honour of carrying The Queen on a flight from Heathrow to Vancouver back in 1963 so I felt rather emotional when I was given the opportunity to follow in his footsteps!”

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British Airways has also released photographs from its Speedbird Heritage Centre, including the first telegram sent to Her Royal Highness as Queen.

On January 31, 1952, British Airways’ predecessor, BOAC, flew Her Royal Highness, the Princess Elizabeth to East Africa on the first stage of a Commonwealth tour. A week later, following the death of her father His Majesty King George VI, she was flown back on a BOAC Argonaut as Queen Elizabeth II.

TheBritish Airwaysmuseum has the original telegram received on the flight home from the Queen Mother to her daughter, which read:

To: Her Majesty The Queen
All my thoughts and prayers are with you.
Mummie
Buckingham Palace

The message was received over the radio, written directly into the Captain’s log-book and then copied out by hand onto a BOAC signal form, before being presented to Her Majesty.

The airline also has a copy of the original flight path plan, which is topped with the image of a crown to depict the flight The Queen returned to the UK on.

The Captain’s original log-book remains in the British Airways Speedbird Heritage Centre which notes that Her Royal Highness, Princess Elizabeth was on board on January 31 and yet the aircraft that returned was carrying the new Queen.

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  • Mwakenya

    Old rant!!! nkt 

    • Ordinary kenyan

      This matter should be brought to the attention of the chief justice, for him to prove that justice in kenya is not for sale. Its so common to see a suspect release from police custody without being charged, and there after  a long story as to why he wasnt charged and the victim and their family wait for justice that will never arrive. If the suspect was some ordinary chap, i wonder if he would be out, while the victim whose income has been terminated, is left to take  care of his medical bills.
      Willy, over to you! 

  • Rwoti

    So sad! Pole 

  • Jim Shanor

    So sorry. Sounds like an accident. Congrats to the bride and groom, friends of mine. Zany way to start a marriage, though. Get well, Captain.

  • The tragedy of this issue is that an individual who is productive has his livelihood taken away from him by an irresponsible person. Worse refuses to take any responsibility for his actions. We should no longer sit by the side lines and watch as crimes are committed and  let the affluent who are responsible get away free. Justice must prevail

  • Kenyanhalisi

    This is truly sad. How does a man ‘play’ with a gun in a wedding?
    Wishing the Captain a speedy recovery. Wondering though if with a spinal injury he can fly again.

  • Mazzdark

    The Kenya Police want us to believe that one of their own must be the Inspector General, yet they cannot prosecute such a simple case of misuse of a firearm, instead they release the suspect and return his gun.

  • Savaan if you are reading this! screw you! We will find you!

  • may God grant u fast recovery

  • Lc

    Funny that shanne you seem to have compassion for children yet you left Zimbabwe and threw your baby in disgust …you got what you deserve…. She is turning seven this year talks about her dad,,,, you are such a looser your daughter s god is making you sure you get what you deserve

    • ciku

      l think u are mean person nobody deserve what is is going through,l think u child god is also a mean one

      • Lc

        What is mean being shot while having a blast. Or a father never taking care of his child. Shanne if yu are still alive make amends with your daughter it’s never too late she turns seven on the 11 th and looks just like you, she is walking school yet father flies aeroplane shame

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