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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 also gives details about the University’s service of remembrance and further information for staff and students on University events and bank holiday arrangements.

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


Her Majesty The Queen
Her 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 (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 for Her Majesty The Queen, giving an opportunity for representatives of the staff and student bodies to pay their respects.

Register to attend the Service here.

University events

In line with official guidance, we expect University business and events to continue as usual, including degree ceremonies and the Open Day on 16 September. Further information will follow if changes are needed for the day of the state funeral.

Arrangements for Monday 19 September

Monday 19 September has now been designated as a bank holiday to mark the funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. In line with other bank holidays, most University business will not take place, and many meetings, teaching and events will be rescheduled. The Bodleian Libraries, Ashmolean, History of Science Museum, Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford University Museum of Natural History, the Botanic Garden and Harcourt Arboretum will be closed for the day.

Staff and students with questions about arrangements for the bank holiday should speak to their college or department for further information.

Book of condolence

A book of condolence has been made available for all staff and students to share a message. The book is located in the atrium of the Weston Library and is available to sign until 5pm on the day following the state funeral. Usual Weston hours are: Monday–Friday 9am–5pm, Saturday 10–5 and Sunday 11–4pm. An online book of condolence is also available to staff and students. 


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