Our Patron is His Majesty King Charles III

The King accepted the Patronage of Sailors‘ Society on the first anniversary of his Coronation.

He continues a Royal tradition of Patronage that goes back to Queen Victoria.

“We are delighted and proud that His Majesty is our new Patron. Royal Patronage has been a truly important part of our history, and we are thrilled that it will continue to be a very special part of our future.”

Sailors’ Society CEO, Sara Baade

The late Queen Elizabeth II was the previous Patron of Sailors’ Society and held the role for 70 years. She performed her first solo ceremony as Princess Elizabeth opening a new Sailors’ Society Home in Aberdeen in October 1944 and continued to support our work through the years, attending the open-air televised Songs of Praise that celebrated the Society's 175th anniversary.

On her death, the Palace began a review of more than 1,000 organisations and charities that had held the Patronage of Her Majesty and the former Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall.

On May 3 2024, the Palace wrote to Sailors’ Society’s CEO, Sara Baade, to inform her that His Majesty would be delighted to accept the Patronage of Sailors’ Society, commenting that it was “a great pleasure” to share this news with the charity to mark the first anniversary of Their Majesties’ Coronation. 

Queen Elizabeth II was our Patron from her ascension to the throne when Winston Churchill was Prime Minister to her Platinum Jubilee celebrations in 2022. We shared the deep sadness at her passing with those in the maritime industry across the globe.

Our archives hold numerous articles and photographs of engagements Her Majesty performed with and for the Society, celebrating key moments in our history. Editions of our magazine, which date back through eight generations of the British monarchy, show how we in turn honoured notable dates over the Queen's reign.

We have picked a selection to share here to honour her memory:

October 1944

On an official tour of Scotland with her parents, Princess Elizabeth performs her first solo opening ceremony at the new Sailors' Home in Aberdeen. In declaring the building open she says it has been brought up to date through the care and enterprise of Sailors' Society, which has done so much for the welfare of seamen.

H.R.H. Princess Elizabeth chatting with some Merchant Seamen in the Sailors' Home Aberdeen
Her Royal Highness unlocking the door of the Sailors' Home.

June 1953

Queen Elizabeth II is crowned. In Arbroath, local fishermen and personnel from HMS Condor visit the Sailors' Centre during the day and the fishing fleet is bedecked with flags. Crowds turn out in gloomy weather and as many people as possible enjoy short sails around the harbour.

November 1955

The Queen unveils a memorial on Tower Hill to the 24,000 men of the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets who gave their lives during World War II.

The Queen celebrated her silver jubilee, marking 25 years on the throne, in 1977. We marked the occasion with her portrait on the front page of our Chart and Compass magazine, given out to seafarers across the world.

August 1993

The Queen visits Southampton Docks for an open-air televised Songs of Praise service to commemorate 175 years of Sailors' Society. A congregation of 3,500 takes part and thousands more watch from vantage points around the docks as Her Majesty pays tribute to the Society.

"It is the oldest Christian maritime charity in existence and its mission remains to serve the spiritual and welfare needs of all seafarers everywhere irrespective of their race, creed or colour. The sea has always been the lifeblood of our world; it ebbs and flows through every chapter of this island's history. Those who sail it, whether to trade between nations or to protect others 'upon their lawful occasions' are men and women of special skills and fortitude. They are above all people who must have the self-reliance to cope with solitude and the deprivation of family life. Their faith is tested much more than for most of us."

After the service, the Royal party boards HMY Britannia to review various ships of the merchant fleet, including the QE2.

Sailors' Society is among thousands celebrating the Queen's 90th birthday with a huge street party along The Mall in London. The Patron's Lunch honours the Queen's patronage of more than 600 charities and organisations worldwide.

“Sailors’ Society is here today, as it has been for the past two centuries, to care for those who work on our seas, and upon whom we all rely.”

Sailors' Society's Patron, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II - 1926-2022

Banner image credit Chris Jackson

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