Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

The University of Leicester joins the nation in mourning the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

In 1957, Her Majesty granted the University College Leicester the Royal Charter, which gave the institution university status with the right to award its own degrees, establishing the University of Leicester.

The following year, HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh were welcomed to the University’s campus for the official opening of the new Percy Gee Students’ Union Building. The Royal couple, greeted by then University Chancellor, Lord Adrian, received an enthusiastic welcome by students as they were taken on a short tour of the new building before the official opening ceremony in Queen’s Hall.

Fifty years later, HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh returned to campus to officially open the £32 million David Wilson Library. On 4 December 2008, Her Majesty and His Royal Highness, escorted by then Chancellor, Sir Peter Williams, and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Robert Burgess, toured the library, meeting with staff, students and sponsors, before unveiling a plaque and then having lunch at the University’s Beaumont Hall.

President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester Professor Nishan Canagarajah said: “Our deepest sympathies go to members of the Royal Family and we join the nation in mourning this enormous loss.

“Her Majesty The Queen was monarch for the entire history of the University, since we were granted our Royal Charter in 1957, and her era also spanned the earlier period when we were a University College.

“She was an abiding influence and visited the University on two occasions - we are indebted to her for her support and for her influence. 

“Her memory lives on, not simply in the buildings that she opened, but in the very purpose of our existence as a University established under her authority. In the year that we celebrated the centenary of our foundation, we give thanks for her unparalleled role as a defining figure of our time.

“The University will mark her passing in a number of ways out of respect. On behalf of the University community, including staff, students, alumni and supporters, we offer our deepest condolences.”

The University is also delighted to be one of only a small number of universities to have won the highly prestigious Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher Education on more than one occasion. Celebrating excellence, innovation and public benefit in work carried out by UK colleges and universities, the Prizes are the highest national honour awarded in UK further and higher education, granted by the Queen every two years, and have been awarded to the University three times:

1994 for developments in astronomy, space and planetary science
2002 for the discovery of genetic fingerprinting 
2013 for the discovery of King Richard III.