Queen visits Drapers’ Hall to mark 70 years since becoming a Freeman

The Queen attended a luncheon today, to mark the 70th anniversary of being admitted to the Freedom of the Drapers’ Company.

Held at Drapers’ Hall. The Queen was welcomed by Sir David Wootton, the 684th Lord Mayor of London, upon her arrival.

The Queen attended a lunch at the Drapers’ Hall in London commemorate the 70th Anniversary of her admission to the Freedom of the Drapers’ Company. Picture by Stephen Lock / i-Images

The lunch was followed by a ceremony where the Sovereign signed an instrument, to record the special occasion; the document, written on vellum, was drafted by Tim Noad, a professional calligrapher from Her Majesty’s College of Arms. The Queen was then taken to view various displays at Drapers’ Hall, including a photo taken at her admission ceremony in 1947.

Elizabeth II also met members of the Court of Assistants, which is the governing body of the company during her visit. After the event, The Queen met students from the local Drapers’ Maylands School, from whom she received a posy.

The Drapers’ Company is one of twelve Great Livery Companies in the City of London, and was established as a trade association of cloth merchants in 1361. The company received a Royal Charter in 1364 and eventually became one of the most powerful entities in the city.

Due to the fact that cloth trading has ceased in the modern world, the company now works to encourage younger generations to pursue educational opportunities, and assists organisations who look after society’s most vulnerable, such as the elderly, the poor and the homeless.

The event marks 70 years since the then-Princess Elizabeth was made Free of the Company by patrimony on 20th May 1947. Her father, the then Duke of York became a Draper 28 years prior, in 1919. The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Gloucester are also distinguished Drapers.

In what many have seen as a nod to the company’s textiles past, The Queen wore a turquoise, red and yellow floral tea dress to the occasion, as well as her Draper’s brooch. The brooch features part of the company’s arms, which are three clouds with light coming from them, topped by crowns; this has historical reference to the Virgin Mary.

The present Drapers’ Hall was bought from King Henry VIII in 1543, however it was destroyed by the Great Fire of 1666, and was consequently rebuilt between 1667 and 1671. In 1772, another fire caused considerable damage, hence the hall was rebuilt for a second time. In the 1860s, the frontage and interior were both updated by Herbert Williams. The interior was later altered once more in 1898-9 by Sir Thomas Graham Jackson.
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