​​​​​​​Queen's guests wish King 'speedy recovery' as she steps up royal duties

By John Mercury February 15, 2024

Guests of the Queen wished the King a “speedy recovery” today as she steps up her royal duties while he undergoes treatment for cancer.

Queen Camilla welcomed staff and beneficiaries of the Poppy Factory charity to Clarence House.

The guests applauded when the Poppy Factory’s president, Surgeon Rear Admiral Lionel Jarvis, asked the Queen to send their best wishes to the King, who returned to Sandringham on Wednesday after his latest bout of cancer treatment in London.

President of The Poppy Factory Surgeon Rear Admiral Lionel Jarvis with Queen Camilla during a celebration at Clarence House, central London, marking the centenary of The Poppy Factory, which was founded in the aftermath of the First World War. The reception also marks 100 years since the charity began the move to its historic home in Richmond upon Thames, south west London. Picture date: Thursday February 15, 2024.
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President of the Poppy Factory, Surgeon Rear Admiral Lionel Jarvis, with Queen Camilla. Pic PA

His Majesty returned to London this week to receive his second round of therapy following the shock diagnosis earlier this month.

Since the announcement, the Queen has had a busy week carrying out various royal engagements including being given a new title – the Honorary Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Fan Makers.

The Queen said military veterans “sometimes… don’t get as much attention as they need” as she praised the Poppy Factory for keeping the spotlight on their cause.

Queen Camilla views an exhibition of poppies and wreaths showing the evolution of the poppy as a symbol of Remembrance during a celebration at Clarence House, central London, marking the centenary of The Poppy Factory, which was founded in the aftermath of the First World War. The reception also marks 100 years since the charity began the move to its historic home in Richmond upon Thames, south west London. Picture date: Thursday February 15, 2024.
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Queen Camilla viewing an exhibition of poppies. Pic: PA

As she hosted the charity today, the Queen was shown the various commemorative paper flowers that it produces and cut a poppy-themed cake with a sword at the Clarence House reception.

She was shown an exhibition of poppies and wreaths depicting the evolution of the poppy as a symbol of remembrance for those killed in action.

The ceremony marked 100 years since the charity moved to its Richmond-upon-Thames home in southwest London.

Queen Camilla meeting guests during a celebration at Clarence House, central London, marking the centenary of The Poppy Factory, which was founded in the aftermath of the First World War. The reception also marks 100 years since the charity began the move to its historic home in Richmond upon Thames, south west London. Picture date: Thursday February 15, 2024.
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Queen Camilla meeting guests during a celebration at Clarence House. Pic PA

For the past decade, the Queen has supported the Poppy Factory by visiting its home and regularly touring Westminster Abbey’s Field of Remembrance, filled with poppy crosses, ahead of Armistice Day.

Camilla told her guests: “I can’t believe that I’ve been part of it for 10 years.

“I’m very proud to be part of the Poppy Factory because I’ve seen the wonderful work that you do.

“It’s so important nowadays to look after these veterans because sometimes they don’t get as much attention as they need.

“So if it wasn’t for you and the other wonderful charities that are supporting them, I don’t know what they’d do.”

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The King leaving hospital after prostate treatment

Earlier, the Queen praised two stalwarts of the Poppy Factory, Peter Wills, 62, and Paul Hammerton, 61, who have been making wreaths laid by the Royal Family at the Cenotaph to mark Remembrance Sunday for many years.

She told them “we’re proud of what you do”, through a sign language interpreter because both are deaf, adding: “You’ve made our wreaths for many years – we thank you very much.”

The Poppy Factory was founded in 1922 to create civilian employment for wounded, sick and injured veterans of the First World War, first at its factory in London’s Old Kent Road before production moved to Richmond upon Thames In 1924.

In recent years the Poppy Factory has stopped producing poppies, a role taken on by the Royal British Legion (RBL), but continues to make around 100,000 wreaths a year for the RBL, including 200 specialist wreaths for dignitaries like the Royal Family and politicians.

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