This article was first published in the summer of 2019 as part of a 100 part series on the history of BA and its predecessor airlines. You can read the full series in numerical order here, or by theme here.
Her Majesty The Queen has a long history with BA and its predecessor airlines.
On 31 January 1952, The Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, bid farewell to King George VI, Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret at London airport before departing on a BOAC Argonaut “Atlanta” G-ALHK aircraft with Prince Philip for a world tour of Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
This trip was cut short following the death of King George VI. Princess Elizabeth returned a week later from Kenya on the same BOAC aircraft as Queen Elizabeth II.
BEA, BOAC and BA have flown The Queen on many state visits and tours.
These include the 1953 and 1954 Commonwealth tours (on a BOAC Stratocruiser), Canada and the US in 1957 (on a BOAC DC-7C aircraft), Bermuda and Jamaica 1963 (on a BOAC Stratocruiser), New Zealand in 1974, the Commonwealth Silver Jubilee tour 1977 (on Concorde), the Middle East in 1979 (on Concorde), and Australia in 2011 (non-stop from London to Perth on a Boeing 777).
Those crews who have flown with The Queen are of course bound by strict confidentiality agreements, but it is known that aircraft are specially configured for The Queen’s use.
The Queen also officially opened London Heathrow Terminals 1 and 5 and Gatwick’s North Terminal.