Women's Institute remember the Queen as their longest serving member

Women's Institute remember the Queen as their longest serving member

‘The Queen was simply one of us’: Sandringham WI vice president remembers the monarch – their longest-serving member – as ‘funny and kind’ and recalls how she would ‘take tea and cake with the ladies’

  • Yvonne Brown of the Sandringham WI recalls the Queen at meetings every year
  • She said the monarch was ‘kind, funny’ and ‘simply one of us’
  • She would have been the longest serving member in January at almost 80 years 
  • Full coverage: Click here to see all our coverage of the Queen’s passing

The vice president of the Sandringham Women’s Institute has remembered the Queen, their longest-serving member, as ‘funny and kind’ and recalled how she would ‘take tea and cake with the ladies’. 

The Women’s Institute(WI) was formed in 1915, designed to bring together women in rural communities and encourage women to become more involved in producing food during the First World War. 

Since then the organisation’s aims have broadened and the WI is now the largest voluntary organisation in the UK. 

The Queen would travel by train to King’s Lynn, Norfolk each year and would attend the winter WI meeting. 

Queen Elizabeth II cuts a Women’s Institute Celebrating 100 Years cake at the Centenary Annual Meeting of The National Federation Of Women’s Institute at the Royal Albert Hall in London

Yvonne Brown, Vice Chair of the Sandringham Women’s Institute reflects on the Queen – their longest serving member 

It was well known in the area that the Queen and Prince Phillip wouldn’t take advantage of their senior discount on the train. 

Yvonne Brown spoke about the Queen on GMB today, saying that she was ‘simply one of us’. 

Yvonne said of their president the Queen: ‘Our condolences to their family she will be greatly missed, we are deeply saddened and shocked by the news.

‘She was with us for 79 years and in January that would have been 80 years she was our longest serving member.’ 

Yvonne recalls the Queen from their yearly meetings in Norfolk as funny, kind and caring. 

She said: ‘I recall her coming this year for the 100th anniversary of the WI – she cut the cake and every year she would have tea and cake with the ladies.’ 

Ben asked: ‘Would she judge the cakes, say on which ones would be better? Would she comment on a Victoria sponge?’ 

Yvonne said: ‘She would look at everything on the table and say “well I would have picked that one instead” but always very humorous.’

: Queen Elizabeth II leaves Sandringham House after a reception with representatives from local community groups to celebrate the start of the Platinum Jubilee, on February 5, 2022 in King’s Lynn near West Necton where the WI meetings took place

Queen Elizabeth II (right) leaves after attending a Sandringham Women’s Institute (WI) meeting at West Newton Village Hall, Norfolk in 2019, pictured with Yvonne Brown in 2019, January 24

Queen Elizabeth II (front right) leaves after attending a Sandringham Women’s Institute (WI) meeting at West Newton Village Hall, Norfolk pictured above with Vice President Yvonne Brown in 2019

Queen Elizabeth II, beside Dame Kiri Tekawana attends the St. Mary Magdalene Church Sunday morning service in Sandringham in 2020, her visits to the Norfolk estate would be where the WI meetings would take place

Queen Elizabeth II arrives at West Newton Village Hall to attend a meeting of the Sandringham branch of the Women’s Institute, at which Dame Penelope Keith is the guest speaker on January 22, 2015 near King’s Lynn, England

Yvonne said the WI ‘are saddened and shocked by the news’ and recall their favorite moments with the Queen in Norfolk 

The Queen was a huge figure for the WI, and was often pictured at meetings each year, with Yvonne describing the monarch as ‘one of us’.

She said: ‘We always enjoyed the meetings with her in January, she was simply one of us and will be greatly missed. She would take tea with the ladies in rotation.’ 

The Queen said of the WI during her reign: ‘Women have been granted the vote, British women have climbed Everest for the first time and the country has elected its first female prime minister. 

‘The Women’s Institute has been a constant throughout, gathering women together, encouraging them to acquire new skills and nurturing unique talents.’

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