The Order of St John at the State Funeral of HM Queen Elizabeth II

The death on September 8th of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Sovereign Head of the Order of St John, sent shockwaves around the world. She has been mourned by Prime Ministers and Presidents, parliaments, faith leaders, and millions of people around the world whose lives were touched by her 70-year reign of selfless service. With her death, His Majesty King Charles III became our Sovereign Head.

Our links to the monarchy were underlined by the invitation to the Order to take part in the ceremonial procession at the State Funeral on 19 September in Westminster Abbey. Three members of the Order were there. The Lord Prior Professor Mark Compton was joined by Dr. Ahmad Ma’ali representing the Jerusalem Eye Hospital and the Order’s medical work, and Nikkita Charag, an outstanding St John Ambulance youth leader and volunteer from Newcastle.

Other representatives of the Order were part of the day’s events, including deputy Prelate Paul Williams who led part of the committal service at Windsor in his role as one of the late Queen’s chaplains, and St John Australia volunteer and senior Australian of the year Val Dempsey who was there as part of the Australian Prime Minister’s party. I was invited to the service to represent the Order as one of the Queen’s charity patronages.

We were all honoured to be part of the historic events and to pay our respects, and to give thanks for the Queen’s lifetime of service, honouring the promise she made in 1947 that her ‘life would always be dedicated to your service’. In pageantry, in music, and in silence, the funeral was a fitting conclusion to an extraordinary and inspiring life, a life and a constant presence we were all privileged to have enjoyed for so many years. We now pledge our loyalty to His Majesty King Charles and reaffirm our willingness to serve the Order and to uphold its values in the same spirit of dedication and commitment which characterised every minute of the late Queen’s life.

Susan le Jeune d’Allegeershecque
Secretary General of The Order