HM The Queen in 1971 during the IEE Centenary celebrations at the Royal Festival Hall

Industry pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth II

Image credit: IET Archives

Following the news of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the IET and other industry bodies have paid tribute to the late monarch.

The world is mourning the death of Britain's longest-reigning monarch, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, a sad and historic event which brings to a close the second Elizabethan era. 

From the first computers to global connectivity, via hybrid cars and the biodiesel-powered Royal train, the Queen was a fundamental and consistent presence in the UK's transition to the digital era. 

Her Majesty always embraced change and was an unwavering advocate of engineering and technology throughout her 70-year reign, no less so than in her patronage of the IET, which now honours her memory following her death at the age of 96.  

“On behalf of everyone at the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and our global engineering community, we are saddened to learn of the death of HM The Queen, Patron of the IET," said current President Sir Julian Young KBE CB FREng CEng FIET, in the IET's official statement. 

"Her Majesty was an unwavering advocate of engineering and technology and graciously consented her patronage to the Institution in 1953. During the IET’s 150th anniversary in 2021 she credited those within the profession as playing a key role in solving global challenges, as well as continuing to improve the lives of millions of people all over the world.

"We’re extremely grateful for the Queen’s loyal service over the last 70 years. Our greatest sympathies go out to the Royal Family."

HM The Queen in 1971 during the IEE Centenary celebrations at the Royal Festival Hall.

HM The Queen in 1971 during the IEE Centenary celebrations at the Royal Festival Hall. /The IET archive

Image credit: IET Archives

Echoing the sentiment expressed by the IET, many technology leaders and industries around the globe have also paid tribute to the Queen.  

Lord Browne of Madingley FREng FRS, chairman of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering Foundation, said: “Trustees, judges and staff of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Her Majesty The Queen. Throughout her reign, Her Majesty has witnessed the profound impact that engineering developments have had on lives around the world and her service and admiration to what she termed a ‘noble profession’ has been unwavering. 

"We are proud to maintain the legacy of Her Majesty’s support to engineering by continuing not only to celebrate the greatest achievements in modern engineering, but also to encourage and inspire young people from across the world to follow their curiosity and take up the world’s toughest challenges as the engineers of tomorrow.” 

Professor Sir Jim McDonald FREng FRSE, President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, added: “The Trustee Board, Fellows and staff of the Royal Academy of Engineering are profoundly saddened to learn of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. As the longest-lived British Sovereign in history, she has seen enormous changes in engineering, science and technology during her lifetime and has always shown an active interest in new developments. Indeed, she has inaugurated many of the UK’s most important engineering projects, from the Channel Tunnel to the Diamond Light Source, and she was the first Monarch to send an email.

“Through her steadfast public service, Queen Elizabeth has earned the respect and affection of generations of people in this country and all over the world. She has also helped to inspire new generations of future engineers by graciously allowing her name to be given to the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, which celebrates bold, ground-breaking engineering innovation of global benefit to humanity.”

Professor Dame Ann Dowling OM DBE FREng FRS, past President of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said: “I have the utmost admiration for Her Majesty The Queen, who has been a constant inspiration through my entire life, and I have had the privilege of meeting her on several occasions during my engineering career. I always found her extremely well informed and I appreciated her very practical interest in engineering and technology, as shown by her wartime work as a mechanic with the ATS.”

Organisations across industry and manufacturing sectors have also shared their condolences. 

In a statement, UK Steel said: "Everyone involved in the UK steel sector will be deeply saddened at the death of Her Majesty the Queen. We all owe her an immense debt of gratitude for the duty and public service to which she dedicated her life in the UK, the Commonwealth and around the world. The sector sends its thoughts and prayers to her family"

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said: “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II who dedicated her life to the service of the nation and the Commonwealth. She was also a lifelong supporter of the UK automotive industry, with a keen interest in and expert knowledge of many of its products. Our sector remains indebted to her and our thoughts and condolences are with the King and the Royal Family."

The Queen's impact has had an undeniably global reach, perhaps personified by the statement from Heathrow Airport - where the Queen opened the airport's Terminal 5 in March 2008 - which said: “All of us at Heathrow are saddened to hear that Her Majesty the Queen has passed away. We offer our condolences to the Royal Family, the British public and the nations of the Commonwealth at this time.

“We're thankful to have shared many key milestones with Queen Elizabeth II during her life, including welcoming her warmly in 1952 when she arrived back from Kenya as our Queen. The world has lost an irreplaceable person and our country, one of its greatest.”

From the painful memories of World War II, to the Covid-19 lockdowns, the Queen accompanied the British public through the biggest challenges, from the middle of the last century and well into the 21st century. As we look forward, the UK and the rest of the world will always remember Queen Elizabeth II's legacy of commitment, responsibility and tenacity.

The Queen's first-born son, Charles, as heir apparent, will now take up the throne and the attendant Royal duties. His official title will be King Charles III.

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