J. K. Rowling and the Queen

Shortly after 6pm BST yesterday it was officially announced that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II had died, peacefully at home that afternoon. As the United Kingdom and nations of the Commonwealth that held her as sovereign enter a period of mourning, J. K. Rowling released a statement via the medium of Twitter:

Some may find the outpouring of British shock and grief at this moment quaint or odd, but millions felt affection and respect for the woman who uncomplainingly filled her constitutional role for seventy years. Most British people have never known another monarch, so she’s been a thread winding through all our lives. She did her duty by the country right up until her dying hours, and became an enduring, positive symbol of Britain all over the world. She’s earned her rest.

J. K. Rowling first met Queen Elizabeth in March 2001 shortly after the publication of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages. Harry Potter creator J K Rowling and Senior Commissioning Editor Emma Matthewson (right) at Bloomsbury Publishing in London. During a royal ‘theme day’, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh are were due to see various aspects of the book industry. Rowling had just been invested by The Prince of Wales with the honour of Officer of the British Empire, announced at the previous years Queen’s birthday honours. Prince Charles was reported to have confirmed he was a fan of Harry Potter during the ceremony.


In 2004 she again met the Queen, this time at a reception in Buckingham Palace to honour Britain’s Women Achievers and again in 2006 at the Children’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace as part of the Queen’s 80th birthday celebrations. 


Princess Anne presented the writer with a benefactor’s award at a ceremony at the University of Edinburgh in September 2011 during the Princess Royal’s first duty since being installed as the University’s new chancellor. 


Warner Bros. Studio Tour London played host to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate, along with Prince Harry in 2013 to commemorate the studio’s official opening. J.K. Rowling and a number of the cast and crew from the films were also there to greet them.

Rowling’s crowning Royal honour came in 2017 as she was made a Companion of Honour by the Duke of Cambridge at Buckingham Palace. The order is limited to 45 living UK citizens and no more than 65 overall. She said she felt “deeply honoured and proud” to get the award. “To be included in the distinguished and diversely talented company of the other Companions of Honour, especially as a female writer, is a particular privilege,” she said in a statement.

It is hardly surprising that a monarch who has been such a constant presence in British sense of self and identity for the last seventy years should have rubbed shoulders with an author that transformed children’s literature, and indeed, literature in general so profoundly in just the last twenty five. It is icons such as J. K. Rowling and Her Majesty that give our cultural landscape shape and presence, both should be treasured, even as today we grieve the loss of our Queen.


  1. Diane Amarillas says

    I am deeply grieved at the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. She has been a steady presence in all our lives. Her constancy and devotion to service will be missed. She set the example of what a true leader should be.

    I support Jo Rowling and all she has and continues to contribute to making this a better world. I’ve read everything she’s written and am currently in the middle of ‘The Ink Black Heart.’ Brilliant! Keep your courage. We need your voice!

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