A life of service: Switzerland pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth II

A life of service: Switzerland pays tribute to Queen Elizabeth II

The Swiss government, president and media figures from around the country have sent their condolences on the passing of Queen Elizabeth the Second of the United Kingdom. The Queen, and the royal family more widely, have made several trips to the alpine nation over the years.

Swiss president sends condolences to British royal family

In a statement soon after the announcement from the palace, President Ignazio Cassis said he was “deeply saddened by the passing of HM Queen Elizabeth II.” “My sincere and heartfelt condolences to the Royal Family on behalf of the Federal Council and the people of Switzerland. She will be remembered as a woman of great strength & steady leadership.”

Swissinfo noted that when the president visited London in April 2022, to discuss a potential free trade agreement, he said he was "very honoured to have been received by British Queen Elizabeth II." He is the fourth Swiss president to be hosted by Queen Elizabeth, the others being Flavio Cotti in 1998, Samuel Schmid in 2005 and Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf, who met with the Queen and Prince Charles shortly after the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Summer Olympics.

The Swiss Embassy in London echoed the comments, noting “our thoughts are with the members of the royal family and the people of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth." In addition to politicians, tennis star Roger Federer wrote that he was “deeply saddened by the passing of her Royal Majesty.” “Her elegance, grace and loyalty to her duty will live on in history.”

Switzerland and the British royal family

The British royal family has had a long and friendly history with the alpine nation, starting with Queen Victoria in 1868, who travelled to Switzerland to relax and heal after the death of Prince Albert. She was welcomed by thousands at the train station in Lucerne, then spent most of her time seeing the historical sites and, most famously, making it to the top of Pilatus (although well aided by her pony Flora). According to Swissinfo, it was her visit that helped launch Switzerland as a tourist destination.

Queen Elizabeth II made one state visit to Switzerland in April 1980. Accompanied by her husband Prince Phillip, the monarch visited Lucerne, Montreux, Lausanne, Bern, Basel and Zurich. She also visited the famous Rütli Meadow, where the Old Swiss Confederacy was founded, where she gave a speech.

While she never came to Switzerland on holiday, telling Schweizer Illustriete in 1980 that “it was already too late for me to learn to ski,” the same cannot be said for her children. It is known that her son Prince Charles - now King Charles III - is a huge fan of the Ski resort of Davos-Klosters, and can be seen skiing the slopes of Parsenn and Madrisa with sons William and Harry during the winter.

Queen Elizabeth II to be succeeded by King Charles III

Whether you are a British expat living and working in Switzerland or a local or expat from another nation around the world, few people will have seen anyone else on the British throne before. Elizabeth’s 70-year reign, one that has seen 15 different British Prime Ministers, and 70 Swiss presidential terms, has now come to an end. In her stead, King Charles the Third is expected to be crowned in the coming months.

If you would like to send a message of condolence, you can do so using the official website.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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