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An open letter: Queen Elizabeth responds to 60-year letter writing tradition

Queen Elizabeth responds personally to touching 60-year Christmas card ritual.

An open letter: Queen Elizabeth responds to 60-year letter writing tradition

The festive season brings out the best in people from all over the world. But as the tradition goes, giving isn’t always about elaborate gifts and showy displays of affection, sometimes it’s the small acts of kindness that can make the biggest difference.

Every festive season, for the past 60 years, Mr Simes, had been writing to Queen Elizabeth II.

The ongoing commitment to wishing the Queen well every Christmas had been so steadfast, it has garnered the attention of the Queen herself, who is said to personally review most of the mail she is sent.

The tradition, which was started in 1952, was cut short for a brief moment when Mr Simes sadly passed away in 2011. His grandson, Andrew Simes, decided to take up the tradition and continue his grandfather’s legacy.

After taking on card-writing duty, Simes was astonished to receive an unexpected response from the Queen herself.

It read: “When I received a letter from a different Simes this Christmas, I instructed my office to research your grandfather’s whereabouts. Therefore it is with much sadness, I have learned of his passing and extend my condolences to you and your family.”

 

Ever since Grandpa could remember, he made sure to send a Christmas card to his king/queen. So naturally, since 1952, Elizabeth II kept receiving his mail. As chance would have it, their paths crossed at a reception in Izmir, Turkey in 1972. When it was his turn to be introduced to the Queen, instead of a formal handshake, she paused, smiled, and quipped: “so its you who keeps sending me those lovely Christmas cards.” Of all her subjects, Grandpa stood out (perhaps because he mailed his letters from Turkey), but what a memory and level of kindness on the Queen’s part. She even wrote him to congratulate him on his 100th birthday. Sadly, Grandpa passed away in the summer of 2011 at the age of 102. As a loyal grandson, admirer and student of his, I took it upon myself to continue writing our Queen every year to show our appreciation. And I started that very first Christmas after Grandpa’s passing. In January 2012, about a month after Christmas, I received a letter. The envelope suggested that it was sent from Buckingham Palace. In it was written: “When I received a letter from a different Simes this Christmas, I instructed my office to research your grandfather’s whereabouts. Therefore it is with much sadness, I have learned of his passing and extend my condolences to you and your family.” I couldn’t fight back the tears then, nor can I fight them back every time I remember this story of two people who left a lifelong impression on each other. And today, just as every year, I sent my Christmas cards… but top of the list was reserved for Her Majesty. Wishing you all a Christmas as magical as this story.

Posted by Andrew Simes on Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Andrew Simes posted a touching ‘thank you’ on his Facebook page, writing: “I couldn’t fight back the tears then, nor can I fight them back every time I remember this story of two people who left a lifelong impression on each other,” Simes wrote in his Facebook post. “And today, just as every year, I sent my Christmas cards… but top of the list was reserved for Her Majesty.”

 

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