Chair Debbie Hewitt MBE pays tribute to HM Queen Elizabeth II on behalf of the FA

Friday 09 Sep 2022
HM Queen Elizabeth II presents the FA Cup to Nottingham Forest's Jack Burkitt following their victory over Luton Town in the 1959 Cup Final at Wembley

The passing of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, has had a profound impact on our nation.

Not only have we lost the longest-serving and arguably the most inspiring British monarch in history, but the Royal Family have also lost a mother, a grandmother, and a great grandmother.

I want to take a moment, on behalf of us all at the Football Association to send our deepest condolences to His Majesty the King and the Royal Family at this time. The love and devotion that Her Majesty received from our nation, and indeed the whole Commonwealth, went beyond the usual relationship of a Queen and her people. She succeeded her father when she was just 25 years old and dedicated her life to the development of so many good causes.

Queen Elizabeth II was a long-standing and dedicated Patron of the FA, and I would like to give a heartfelt thank you to Her Majesty for the decades of support that she has given to English football.

We will always treasure that she was at the heart of our England men's team's finest hour in 1966, when she presented the Jules Rimet Trophy to Bobby Moore. The England captain’s thoughtfulness to protect Her Majesty’s pristine white gloves by wiping his muddy hands as he walked along the Royal Box, remains as memorable today as the smile that lit up Her Majesty’s face as she made the presentation.

HM Queen Elizabeth II with England captain Bobby Moore following the World Cup Final victory at Wembley in 1966

While that iconic image is indelibly marked in the minds of all England fans, Her Majesty had already been attending matches at Wembley for more than 20 years by 1966. Her first match was in 1944, when England beat Scotland 6-2 in a friendly, in aid of war charities. In more than half-a-century of coming to Wembley, Her Majesty presented the FA Cup no less than eleven times, including the famous Sir Stanley Matthews final in 1953, and she also handed the European Championship trophy to Germany in 1996.

Throughout her reign we felt great affection for Her Majesty, and football was never far from her thoughts, particularly the England teams. In 2013 Queen Elizabeth was kind enough to grant His Royal Highness, The Duke of Cambridge, unique permission for a special grassroots match on the Buckingham Palace lawn as part of our 150th FA anniversary celebrations.

In 2021 she wrote to our England Coach Gareth Southgate, to congratulate the England team on reaching the European Finals and to wish them luck, and following England’s historic EUROs win this summer, Her Majesty the Queen was one of the first people to congratulate Sarina Wiegman and the Lionesses on their success.

HM Queen Elizabeth II meets the German men's national team ahead of the UEFA EURO 96 Final at Wembley Stadium

In recent years her grandson, and our President, His Royal Highness, The Duke of Cambridge, has taken over the majority of the Royal footballing duties – including the opening of St. George’s Park in 2012.

In a life dedicated to this country, we have been humbled by Her Majesty the Queen’s presence at English football’s greatest moments, and we have been truly honoured to have had her as our Patron.

Like everyone else in this country, we are devastated by our loss but uplifted by the fact that this inspiring and warm human being touched the lives of us all in football, in a way that we will be eternally grateful for.

To honour her memory and lifelong commitment to our national game, English football has united to postpone football fixtures at all levels this weekend. This is our opportunity for the football community across the country to pause and reflect during this period of national mourning.

As we turn to this next era, we ask you to join us all at the FA in recognising, thanking and praising Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for everything that she did for our beautiful game.

HM Queen Elizabeth II passed away on Thursday 8 September

By Debbie Hewitt MBE Chair of the Football Association