Up until her death, Queen Elizabeth II was an example of strength. In spite of her old age, she carried on with her duties, such as meeting with the new prime minister and keeping up with her correspondence. One of the last letters she sent reached its intended recipient on the same day that the Queen's death was announced.
Eight-year-old Oliva Akers from Tallygaroopna, Australia, received an official letter from the Queen on September 8, 2022. She had been waiting all summer for the mail, after posting her own handwritten letter back in June, around the time of the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. Akers wrote: “Dear Queen Elizabeth, my name is Olivia Akers, I am eight-years-old and live in Tallygaroopna in Australia. I really liked your video with Paddington Bear. Do you really eat marmalade sandwiches? I have included some photos from an online horse fancy dress competition that was for your Platinum Jubilee. I hope you like my photos? My side saddle came from England. My pony's name is Lady and she is an Australian pony. How many horses do you have? I hope you had a lovely Jubilee. Love Olivia.”
Also included in the envelope were photos of Akers dressed as Queen Elizabeth in the Trooping the Colour ceremony—wearing a red coat adorned with gold braid and medals, and a black hat accessorized by a single white feather—whilst riding her pony, Lady. Although Akers did not win the competition with her detailed outfit, her mother suggested that she share it with the British monarch. A couple of months passed; but at last, on Friday, September 8, Akers received the long-awaited reply.
Written by the Queen's Lady-In-Waiting Annabelle Whitehead, it said, “The Queen was interested to see the photographs you enclosed in which you and your splendid Pony, Lady, are depicted in the costume you chose for the celebratory competition you entered. Her Majesty was touched to know that you too enjoy horse riding, and I am to thank you again for your thoughtfulness in writing to the Queen as you did at this time.”
The remarkable timing of the reply suggests this letter may have been one of the last ones Queen Elizabeth II made during her lifetime. It will surely be a treasured object to young Akers for years to come.