Why does Queen sign her name ‘Elizabeth R’? Monarch grieving Prince Philip thanks well-wishers on 95th birthday

To mark her birthday, Her Highness released a statement, her first-ever after Prince Philip’s death, in which she said she was 'deeply touched' by the 'support and kindness' received from people after the demise of her husband

                            Why does Queen sign her name ‘Elizabeth R’? Monarch grieving Prince Philip thanks well-wishers on 95th birthday
The Queen thanked her well-wishers as she spent her birthday, April 21, without Prince Philip (Getty Images)

Queen Elizabeth II turned 95 on Wednesday, April 21. To mark her birthday, Her Highness released a statement, her first-ever after Prince Philip’s death, in which she said she was “deeply touched” by the “support and kindness” received from people after the demise of her husband. The Duke of Edinburgh died on April 9 at Windsor. He was 99.

The Queen stated, “I have, on the occasion of my 95th birthday today, received many messages of good wishes, which I very much appreciate. While as a family we are in a period of great sadness, it has been a comfort to us all to see and to hear the tributes paid to my husband, from those within the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and around the world. My family and I would like to thank you all for the support and kindness shown to us in recent days. We have been deeply touched, and continue to be reminded that Philip had such an extraordinary impact on countless people throughout his life.” Her message ended with her signature - “Elizabeth R.”


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Why does Queen Elizabeth II sign her name Elizabeth R?

According to reports, the monarch has two signatures. Elizabeth R is her official signature in which “R” stands for Regina. In Latin, regina means “queen”. But when not working, the Queen prefers to use her family nickname, Lilibet. Most recently, she used her nickname when she honored her late husband with a handwritten note.


The Queen wrote, “In loving memory” in the note and signed it as “Lilibet”. It has been said her emotional handwritten words were on the coffin throughout the event on April 17. Reports also said the 95-year-old member of the royal family last used her nickname in 2002 while signing flowers at her mother’s funeral.

Queen Elizabeth II arrives for the funeral of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle on April 17, 2021, in Windsor, England (Getty Images)

A Harper's Bazaar 2019 report stated that signing with the initial R is a centuries-old thing for English monarchs, and later British monarchs. Royal historian Marlene Koenig said, “It designates the authority of the sovereign. You will find the use of 'R' as far back as Henry I [who ruled in the early 12th century]. It is how they sign all official documents, as well as formal letters, etc.”

However, Koenig went on to say to Harper's Bazaar via email that when the Queen writes informal letters or notes to family and friends, she ends it with her nickname. Lilibet was reportedly given to her as a child and Philip was the last royal to call her by this name. The historian also mentioned an exception in this tradition. She said, “When Victoria became Empress of India, she signed as 'Victoria RI' (Rex Imperator) and the British sovereign used this until India became independent after the second World War.”

Queen Elizabeth ll and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh arrive in an open carriage on Ladies Day at Royal Ascot on June 16, 2011, in Ascot, England (Getty Images)

Birthday wishes for the Queen

The Instagram account of the royal family also wished the Queen a very happy birthday by sharing a picture of her at a royal engagement. The caption of the post read, “Today is The Queen’s 95th birthday. The Queen was born at 2.40am on 21 April 1926 at 17 Bruton Street in Mayfair, London. She was the first child of The Duke and Duchess of York, who later became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. This year Her Majesty remains at Windsor Castle, during a period of Royal Mourning following the death of The Duke of Edinburgh.”


Several people in the comment section of the post wished her well. One user said, “Happy birthday your majesty [hearts] I’m sorry you’re having to spend it under such unusual circumstances, and without Prince Phillip by your side. We are all thinking of you today.” Another person wrote, “Wishing a very happy birthday to our remarkable Queen. All my thoughts go to her in this difficult period.” “Happy Birthday. Long msg she reign. One of the greatest honors of my life was seeing HM in Lancaster City Walkabout with Prince Philip July 1999,” a comment read.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh observe a minute's silence in honour of the victims of the attack at Manchester Arena at the start of a garden party at Buckingham Palace on May 23, 2017, in London, England (Getty Images)

Unlike every year, this time the birthday of the mother-of-four has not been celebrated with traditional gun salutes as she is mourning Philip’s death. To give her company, family members are expected to keep visiting her on a rota basis. “The Queen will not be alone. She will have others who care about her deeply and want to be there to support her in her most pressing hour. In typical fashion the Queen has insisted she is coping and despite the suggestion she had prepared herself for this day to come, everyone is well aware there is nothing like the experience when it comes,” a source told The Mirror.

Meanwhile, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also sent his warm wishes to the Queen on her birthday. He shared on Twitter, “I would like to send my warm wishes to Her Majesty The Queen on her 95th birthday. I have always had the highest admiration for Her Majesty and her service to this country and the Commonwealth. I am proud to serve as her Prime Minister.”


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