09 Sep Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II: Our Tribute
Today we mourn the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and pray for her family in their grief.
Her life of Christian witness and steadfast faith has been an example to us all.
As we remember her life and give thanks for all she did for our nation and the Commonwealth over her 70 year reign, here is a reminder of her visit to Pokhara where she met some of the staff from INF’s Shining Hospital on a trip to Nepal in 1961:
The day came and the crowds in their best clothes and the school children in their uniforms started streaming down to the airfield where they were given flags to wave. It has been estimated that there were between 30,000 and 33,000 people present.
Six Dakotas and the King’s plane preceded the Queen’s Dakota and the enclosure was filled with VIPs – as well as the Press. Shortly after 10:30am the royal plane was sighted and as it taxied down the runway, out came the flag above the cockpit. The Queen had really arrived in Pokhara!
Everyone was quiet as the steps were pushed up to the doorway and the Queen alighted on our airfield. Several were presented to her and then she started slowly to walk down the line of [Gurkha] pensioners, talking to many of them as she went. After the pensioners, she came to the elite of Pokhara, and finally to the staff of the Shining Hospital and three of her subjects from the Tansen Hospital. It was a peak moment of our lives!
She spoke to each one of us and when she heard that those from Tansen had walked for three days she exclaimed “Walked did you say?” and then turning to Prince Philip, she said “Did you hear that? These three have walked for three days!”
The Queen and the Duke, standing up in a jeep, were taken through an excited crowd to the Palace for a meal. Several hours later they returned, there were formal handshakes and then with a wave of her hand and a goodbye to us the Queen entered the plane and the rest of the party followed. The door was shut, the steps removed and soon the place was heading to Kathmandu. The visit to Pokhara was over.
Extract from Himalayan Vision: 50 years in Nepal (© INF 2002), first published in the NEB Newsletter, May 1961.
Queen Elizabeth II 1926-2022