Trust issues: We were honoured that the Queen shared the Retail Trust’s belief in a happy and healthy retail workforce
By Chris Brook-Carter, chief executive of the Retail Trust
Like so many people across the world, everyone at the Retail Trust was truly saddened by the news that Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II passed away last month. Not least because of the long and personal connection between the Queen and our charity.
Queen Elizabeth was our Royal Patron for 74 years and during that time she was a gracious and generous supporter of the work we do to achieve hope, health and happiness for everyone working in the UK retail sector.
This was such an important boost to everybody associated with the Retail Trust. We were honoured that she shared these same beliefs in the importance of a happy and healthy retail workforce and remain so grateful for her time in visiting us and for joining us at a number of events.
Our Royal connection goes as far back as 1948 when we have photos of the then Princess Elizabeth visiting one of the estates we run to support older people who used to work in retail. She retained a keen and active interest in the years that followed and her visits always attracted immense interest and support from the residents and their local communities.
Just this year we received a letter from the Queen marking 190 years of the Retail Trust and in 2008, she invited 50 staff members and supported living residents to St James’s Palace in celebration of 175 years of our charity which was such a brilliant day for everyone involved. I was at our estate in Derby in the days before the Royal funeral to visit some of the people that had met the Queen and hear their stories, and her image was also on the walls there as an important reminder of her patronage.
The retail industry has of course changed dramatically over the eight decades that the Queen was our patron and the Retail Trust’s role as the charity for people within the sector has grown enormously too. But her support throughout this time has strengthened our sense of identity and belief in the work we do. Her Royal Highness touched so many people’s lives, both at the Retail Trust and elsewhere, and we shall all miss her greatly.
The Queen’s visit to the Retail Trust’s Leylands estate in the 1950s.
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