Rarely has a person touched so many lives across the world for such an enduring time. Queen Elizabeth II’s remarkable dedication and achievements over her 70-year reign were inspiring for so many worldwide. Here in Singapore, the Queen always held a very special place; her imprint here can be felt across the island nation.
Singapore is part of the Commonwealth, first joining in October 1965 after gaining independence from Malaysia, and Singapore regularly participates in the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings (CHOGM). In fact, Singapore hosted the very first CHOGM in 1971, which produced a seminal document known as the Singapore Declaration of Commonwealth Principles.
Queen Elizabeth II visited Singapore during her time as monarch on three different occasions in 1972, 1989, and 2006. What changes she saw from visit to visit! From Singapore’s first restored conservation shophouse to a Townsland Primary School in the heartlands, Queen Elizabeth II saw many sides of Singapore.
Over her three visits, she attended a banquet at the Istana, visited the Kranji War Memorial and sipped tea at Tea Chapter. Wearing a vibrant green skirt suit and matching feathered hat, she first met Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at The Fullerton Hotel. She even strolled through the very first HDB estate in Singapore, checking out the void deck of Block 53, Lorong 5, and then stopped by for a visit at a local family’s flat. Imagine hosting the Queen in your home! In 2006, 34 years later, Queen Elizabeth again stopped by the Toa Payoh HDB during her final Singapore state visit.
To commemorate Singapore’s special relationship with Queen Elizabeth II, Singapore has also named many places after the popular monarch.
To cope with Singapore’s booming population, Queenstown was the first satellite town in Singapore – meaning that it was a self-sufficient housing estate outside the city center. It had everything it needed to be self-sufficient such as shops, markets, schools, and places of worship. The area was named Queenstown to mark the Queen’s 1953 coronation. The naming didn’t end there! There are five estates within Queenstown: Princess Estate, Duchess Estate, Tanglin Halt, Commonwealth, as well as Queen’s Close and Queen’s Crescent.
Queen Elizabeth Walk
Esplanade Park has existed since 1922 but was refurbished and renamed Queen Elizabeth Walk on May 30, 1953 as part of the celebrations for Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. Odd fact? Even though it was officially named Queen Elizabeth Walk, many locals – even the newspapers – referred to it as the Princess Elizabeth Walk in the 50s and 60s. Over the years, the walk has undergone a few changes, but today, Queen Elizabeth Walk is now part of Esplanade Park and extends along the coast south of the Esplanade Theatre. Check it out!
The Queen’s Dock at Keppel Shipyard was developed in 1953 to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. It was the most modern dry dock in Southeast Asia when it was completed in 1956, able to dock ships up to 18,000 tons. It was supposed to be officially opened on Halloween in 1956 by Prince Philip, but his trip was canceled due to the disruptions of the Chinese Middle School Riots that month. The dock was commissioned without him and started its operations in November 1956. Today, Queen’s Dock is the water channel which lies between the Caribbean at Keppel Bay and Reflections at Keppel Bay.
Dendrobium Elizabeth is an orchid hybrid, with twisted Dresden-yellow petals and a uranium-green lip. It was named in honor of the queen when she visited Singapore in 1972. Flowering just twice a year, the Dendrobium Elizabeth was bred from orchids originating from Singapore and Papua New Guinea, and carries just about 40 blooms per plant.
Queen Elizabeth II Cup
The Queen Elizabeth II Cup was inaugurated on February 20, 1972 by the Singapore Turf Club to commemorate Her Majesty’s first state visit to Singapore. The monarch returned to the Club at the Singapore Turf Club’s Kranji home in 2006 to once again grace the Queen Elizabeth II Cup.
Singapore mourns the Queen
Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, state flags at all government buildings in Singapore were flown half-mast on the day of the Queen's funeral. Additionally, Singapore’s Parliament observed one minute of silence at the beginning of its sitting on Monday, September 12. President Halimah Yacob and her husband attended the Queen’s funeral in London.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong commented on his Facebook page about the Queen’s death: "Her contributions to the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and indeed to the world will be recorded in history, and she will always be remembered fondly as a great world leader…. Her Majesty also left a significant mark on Singapore’s history and our longstanding close relations with the United Kingdom.”
Indeed, she will be missed.
Rest in peace, Your Majesty.