Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, died on Thursday, 8th September, aged 96.
Poland's President Andrzej Duda said: “She will be missed and remembered in Poland and all over the world. Our deepest condolences go to The Royal Family and all the British people on the passing of Her Majesty the Queen. For decades she has been an embodiment of everything that makes Britain truly great.”
Recently we were honoured to receive a very special guest, the Mayor of Bromley, Cllr Hannah Gray. Knowing how difficult it would be for some of our residents to leave Antokol to sign the Book of Condolences in Bromley, she had brought one with her so we could all sign it and express our sorrow and appreciation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, a woman, a mother and a monarch.
Mayor Gray, who was given a guided tour of the house and garden, did not hide her emotion or her admiration for our home. She commented on the warm and cosy atmosphere that prevails at Antokol and how she had immediately felt its very "specific aura".
Over coffee, tea and delicious cakes in the library, our residents, employees and representatives of the Board talked long and cordially with the mayor. The discussions were many and varied and ranged from our great queen and England to Poland and the road that some of our residents have travelled (through the Golgotha of Siberia, the sands of the desert, the battlefields), to finally find their home here. As Mayor Gray listened to the stories she was visibly moved and told us these conversations served as an unexpected and necessary history lesson for her.
The signing of the Book of Condolences took place in the corridor, at a table specially set up for the purpose. Elegant and dignified. And, when it was time for Mayor Gray to leave, she was delighted when we presented her with a cake which had been baked for her at Antokol.
Shortly afterwards, Mayor Gray announced that she would be visiting us again very soon. We’ll tell you all about it next time!