The Queen’s Nursing Institute was founded in 1887 during the Golden Jubilee year of Queen Victoria for whom the charity was originally named.
The charity was originally called Queen Victoria’s Jubilee Institute for Nurses. Queen Victoria was the first Patron, and a queen has been patron of the charity ever since, though not necessarily the ruling sovereign.
The Patrons of the QNI since its foundation are:
1887 to 1901 | Her Majesty Queen Victoria
1901 to 1925 | Her Majesty Queen Alexandra (pictured right)
1925 to 1953 | Her Majesty Queen Mary
1953 to 2002 | Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother
2002 to 2022 | Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Queen Victoria’s reign saw the creation of modern nursing services in the United Kingdom and beyond, including the beginning of organised district nursing in 1859. She held formal reviews for the Queen’s Nurses of England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, including at Windsor Castle in 1896.
Queen Alexandra, the Consort of King Edward VII, was not only Patron of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee Institute, she was also the first President of Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps, which she helped to establish in 1902.
Queen Mary, the Consort of King George V, had a lifelong interest in nursing. Her daughter, Princess Mary, served as a nurse during World War I. The Earl of Athlone, Queen Mary’s brother, served as the President of the Institute for many years and was succeeded in that office by his widow, Alice, Countess of Athlone.
Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother became Patron of the Institute on the death of Queen Mary in 1953 and filled the role for almost fifty years. She presented Long Service badges to Queen’s Nurses at an annual gathering.
Queen Elizabeth II, the fifth Patron of the Queen’s Nursing Institute, approved the reintroduction of the Queen’s Nurse title in 2007 and welcomed QNs to Buckingham Palace garden parties and other events. In 2022, her Diamond Jubilee year, the QNI presented her with the Gold Badge of the institute, its highest honour.