Yesterday, The Queen hosted a reception at Buckingham Palace to mark International Women’s Day.
Herr Majesty hosted the event in her role as President of the Women of the World and invited women from across different industries – including entrepreneurs, entertainers, athletes, authors, journalists and public servants – to the event.
Prior to the reception, The Queen issued a personal social media message to mark the annual day: ‘International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate female achievement, to encourage and inspire one another, and to thank the women in our lives for their contribution to society. I would like to take this opportunity to highlight just some of the remarkable women who I have had the privilege of meeting over the past year.’
‘To me, they represent, not only themselves and their own efforts, but also the millions of brilliant women who make a difference each day. Because, to steal a quote, “Behind every great woman…is another great woman.”‘
Guests at the reception included: actress Sarah Lancashire, 2021 Strictly Come Dancing winner and EastEnders actress Rose Ayling-Ellis, former Iranian prisoner Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the Prime Minister’s wife Akshata Murty, Afrobeats singer Tiwa Savage, performer Elaine Paige, and Leader of the House of Commons, and Conservative MP Penny Mordaunt.
Her Majesty spoke to actress Sarah Lancashire, and revealed she was a fan of the hit BBC drama, Happy Valley. Lancashire said she was ‘excited’ to meet Her Majesty and the feeling seemed mutual.
Camilla asked the actress if there would be a season four of the drama, but Lancashire said unfortunately not. She asked Sarah about her future career direction, when she said: ‘Well at the moment, I’ve just started to produce’.
Concluding the conversation, Lancashire said: ‘Well thank you very much indeed. I’m amazed you found time to watch’.
After meeting The Queen, Sarah Lancashire said: ‘What a great cause, it’s nice to be part of the celebrations. The women here are so inspiring. I’ve been so blown away by some of their achievements and by some of their experiences in life, which have been challenging for many. Many are here because they have had a much tougher route through life. It’s a privilege to meet them.’
The Queen also chatted to Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a dual British-Iranian national, who was detained in Tehran in 2016 after a holiday with her daughter to see her parents. Zaghari-Ratcliffe told Camilla: ‘I’m happy to be here – it’s lovely to be free.’
Jude Kelly, CEO and founder of Women of the World said: ‘Many of you in this room are representing and speaking for those people who can’t be here and are silenced’. She asked the audience whether they believed that ‘one day there will be gender equality’.
‘The girls in Iran are depending on it, the women of Afghanistan are depending on it, all over the world people are depending on other people having dreams on their behalf and making sure we go forward.’
Kelly praised The Queen for her support for WOW and for ‘fighting the good fight, dreaming the good dream and being kind to yourself as well as everybody else.’