The passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

Monday 13th Dec 2021, 11.49am

The University of Oxford is deeply saddened to learn of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The University enjoyed a close relationship with the Queen throughout her reign and gives thanks for her 70 years of service to the nation.

This page contains a tribute from the Chancellor, Lord Patten of Barnes, and provides details of The Queen’s involvement with Oxford. 

It will be updated with details about the University’s service of remembrance and further information for staff and students.

Tribute from the Chancellor, the Rt Hon the Lord Patten of Barnes, CH

Her Majesty The QueenHer Majesty The Queen

‘Queen Elizabeth was one of Britain’s greatest monarchs, which is not solely because of the achievements and length of her remarkable reign, as well as the changes and challenges the UK and the world underwent during that time. It is, above all, because of her utter dedication to duty, responsibility, decency and brave integrity. We are all profoundly grateful for her services to the UK and the Commonwealth, which she carried out at all times with generosity of spirit, good humour and wise judgement. Requiescat in pace.’

The Queen and the University

The University of Oxford has a long history of links with the British Royal Family and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The Queen served as the College Visitor of Christ Church, Oriel College, University College and St Antony’s College. In this largely ceremonial role, The Queen acted as impartial overseer of these institutions.

As part of her duties The Queen has visited the University on a number of occasions over the years. Highlights include:

  • 1948 – Awarded a Degree by Diploma (as Princess Elizabeth)
  • 1960 – First reigning monarch to pay an official visit to the city of Oxford (rather than University). Laid the foundation stone of St Catherine’s College. Visited Christ Church, the Sheldonian, Trinity College, Lady Margaret Hall, St Anne’s College.
  • 1969 – Laid the foundation stone for Wolfson College. Visited Somerville College, Christ Church and Oriel College. Became the first reigning monarch to visit the Oxford Union.  
  • 1976 – Visited Jesus College, Radcliffe Science Library and New College.
  • 1983 – Visited Oriel College and Rhodes House for the 80th anniversary of the Rhodes Scholarship  
  • 1992 – Visited Christ Church to mark the 450th anniversary of Oxford Diocese.  
  • 1999 – Visited the Bodleian; visited University College to celebrate its 750th anniversary.
  • 2004 – Opened the new Chemistry Research Laboratory.
  • 2008 – Attended the 550th anniversary celebrations at Magdalen College.
  • 2009 – Opened the redeveloped Ashmolean and the 500th anniversary celebrations at Brasenose College.  
  • 2013 – Visited Oriel College and distributed Maundy Money at Christ Church College (Charles I was the last monarch to conduct the ceremony here in Oxford).   

Service of thanksgiving and remembrance

The University will be holding a service of thanksgiving and remembrance, giving an opportunity for representatives of the staff and student bodies to pay their respects to The Queen. Details will be sent by email.

Book of condolences

A book of condolences will be made available in the coming days; there will also be an online book of condolences for those who prefer to submit a message digitally. Further information will follow when available.


For media enquiries, please contact the University Public Affairs Directorate on or phone 01865 280528.