December 9, 2022

What Queen Elizabeth Wrote In This Secret Letter Won’t Be Known For Another Six Decades

Queen Elizabeth II passed away on September 8, 2022, at the age of 96 and was mourned at a state funeral 10 days later on September 19. But it turns out that Britain’s longest-reigning monarch still has something to say. We just won’t know what it is for another 60 years or so. That’s because a letter that she wrote to the people of Sydney, Australia, is sealed in a vault with instructions not to be opened until 2085, about 100 years after it was written, according to Australia’s 7NEWS.

The queen wrote the letter in November of 1986 on one of her 16 visits to Australia, according to Diario AS. She addressed the letter to “the just and honorable Lord Mayor of Sydney, Australia” with very specific instructions: “On a suitable day to be selected by you in the year 2085 A.D, would you please open this envelope and convey to the citizens of Sydney my message to them.” She then signed the mysterious message, “Elizabeth R.,” according to 7NEWS.

The queen Down Under

Why did Queen Elizabeth II write a secret letter to the people of an Australian city? That’s because Australia is one of 14 Commonwealth Realm countries outside the United Kingdom, according to National Geographic. These nations are members of the Commonwealth that accept the reigning British monarch as theirs as well. When performing duties in Australia, the queen was actually considered the queen of Australia, not the queen of the UK, and her official title there was “Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God Queen of Australia and Her other Realms and Territories, Head of the Commonwealth” (via The Royal Family). 

The queen first visited Australia at the age of 27 in 1954, according to the New South Wales State Library. She was the first British monarch to visit the country, and her arrival in Sydney Harbor drew a crowd of around 1 million. The moment was also the first event ever televised in Australia. Her last trip to Australia came in 2011, more than half a century later, reports Diario AS.

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“From her famous first trip to Australia, the only reigning sovereign to ever visit, it was clear Her Majesty held a special place in her heart for Australia,” Australia Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said in response to the monarch’s death. “Fifteen more tours before cheering crowds in every part of our country confirmed the special place she held in ours” (via NDTV). Australia will mourn the queen’s passing with a national holiday on September 22, per The Independent.

The queen’s letter

According to The Independent, the secret letter left by Queen Elizabeth II to the people of Sydney was written to honor the restoration of the Queen Victoria Building. This building was first constructed in Sydney in 1898 for the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, who was also the queen’s great-grandmother, according to news.com.au. However, during the 1950s, it was threatened with being bulldozed to make room for a parking lot. Instead, the city decided to restore the edifice. The queen chose to celebrate that restoration, completed in 1986, with her secret letter. 

The letter is located in a restricted part of the historic building inside a glass case, according to 7NEWS. The queen did not even tell her personal staff what the message to the future contains. However, journalist Gretty Garcia observed that the letter is set to be opened in 2085, the same year that a 99-year lease on the building to a Malaysian company is set to expire (per GH via Yahoo Finance). “Maybe in the letter, she’ll ask for the lease to be continued so the building stays safe?” Garcia speculated. “Just a guess!”