Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II became Patron of the British Empire Leprosy Relief Association (BELRA) in 1952, shortly after the death of her father King George VI, who had been Patron since BELRA was founded in 1924.

As Princess Elizabeth, the Queen had taken an interest in leprosy as early as 1947 when she was one of the first Royal sponsors of BELRA’s Child Adoption Scheme. She sponsored two girls at Itu Leprosy Colony in Nigeria. Following her wedding in November 1947, Princess Elizabeth sent a portion of her wedding cake to the Girl Guides at Itu.

When the two children were cured, and she had become HM The Queen, she supported the building of new children’s homes in places where the adoption scheme was being introduced in Tanganyika (now Tanzania). She continued to sponsor children in Africa and India until the end of the scheme.

Her Majesty has also attended a number of our events including our Diamond Jubilee thanksgiving service in 1984, and our ‘Quest for Dignity’ prize presentation in 1999.
We are extremely grateful to Her Majesty for her untiring support.

Find out more by taking a look at our interactive timeline.

A visual history

Lepra Patron H.H The Queen
Lepra Patron H.H The Queen