Queen Elizabeth II and her relationship with Florence
On the day of the historical sovereign's funeral, we want to remember her connection to our city
It was May 1951 when Elisabeth, still a princess, first came to Florence, where she returned exactly 10 years later, in 1961, again together with Philip.
When she visited the cradle of the Renaissance for the first time in the early 1950s, Elisabeth and Philip stayed at Villa Il Pratellino in San Domenico near Fiesole. They were hosted by Princess Helena of Romania, Elisabeth's cousin, who was in the city.
On her second visit, Elisabeth, this time Queen, was welcomed together with Prince Philip by the then mayor Giorgio La Pira. The pictures of the time show the Queen under the Loggia dei Lanzi in a beautiful white dress and her inseparable handbag, while smiling at the many Florentines, and others, who flocked to greet the royals. In his speech, La Pira emphasised the strong bond that has always united Tuscany and England, witnessed by the presence of a large community in the city.
The beautiful pictures immortalising the queen in our city are the work of the the Archivio Storico Foto Locchi, the largest photographic archive on the history of Florence which collects the testimony of Florentine life since 1934 documenting every aspect of it.
Of that beautiful visit remains the queen's signature on the guestbook of Palazzo Vecchio: an image that the mayor Dario Nardella has shared on social media in recent days.
The British royal family and Tuscany have always had a deep bond. In addition to Elizabeth II's visits, Charles of England has also often come to Tuscan soil. He arrived in 1985 together with Princess Diana of Wales on a Grand Tour, and returned in March 2017, again on the banks of the Arno, in the company of his second wife Camilla. On both occasions, in addition to visiting the most beautiful sights in the city, Charles met with numerous wine producers, including the Frescobaldi family, who are very close to the affairs of the House of Windsor.
Not to be forgotten are the numerous visits at the end of the 19th century of Queen Victoria and that of Edward VII and Wallis Simpson in 1949.