Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, died on Saturday 30 March 2002 at the age of 101. The University of Cambridge's Vice Chancellor, Professor Sir Alec Broers, has paid tribute to her:
"A dear friend of the University, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, will be sadly missed. Her contributions were much valued and we send our sincere condolences to her family".

The Queen Mother had many links with the University of Cambridge. She was Patron of Queens' College and the Visitor at Girton College, but perhaps her most historic connection with the University was that she was the first woman to receive a degree in the Senate-House. She was awarded the degree on 21 October 1948, other women followed in the November.

The Queen Mother became the Patron of Queens’ College in 1948. She first visited Queens’ on 7th June 1948 as part of the quincentenary celebrations of the College. Her official visit on 9th June 1998 marked not only the College’s 550th anniversary but also 50 years of her patronage. It was her third visit in six years. A portrait, by June Mendoza, hangs in the College’s Senior Combination Room. The most recent court to be built in the College was completed in 1990 and is named Lyon Court in her honour.

When New Hall moved to its present buildings in Huntingdon Road in 1963, the new site was opened by the Queen Mother, who commented on its ‘happy atmosphere’.

The Queen Mother had been a Visitor at Girton College since 1949. The Statutes of almost every College provide for an eminent person/person of repute to be ex officio the Visitor of the College. They intervene in case of disputed questions on which the Governing Body of the College cannot reach a satisfactory decision by internal statutory procedure.

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