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“I think my hand was shaking” – Bailiffs past and present share memories of the Queen

“I think my hand was shaking” – Bailiffs past and present share memories of the Queen

Sunday 18 September 2022

“I think my hand was shaking” – Bailiffs past and present share memories of the Queen

Sunday 18 September 2022

From the Queen unintentionally becoming an ambassador for Jersey to France and a surprise appearance at a Magna Carta party... Bailiffs past and present have been sharing their memories of meeting 'Notre Duc'.

Sir Timothy Le Cocq, Sir William Bailhache and Sir Philip Bailhache fondly recalled their encounters with Her Majesty...

Sir Timothy Le Cocq

The Bailiff and Acting Lieutenant Governor, who was given a knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours this year, met Her Majesty when he was Attorney General.


“I have not met Her Majesty other than on one extremely brief occasion when I was Attorney General. There was a reception at Buckingham Palace to celebrate the Magna Carta, and the Attorney Generals and others related to the law at the time were in a large conference in the Queen Elizabeth Hall," Sir Timothy recalled.

"We were all invited to Buckingham Palace - we didn’t realise we were invited to meet anybody - we thought it was just a drinks reception in one of the long rooms there. 

“But when we were there, the doors opened and Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh were standing side by side and we were all lined up and presented.

“I shook her hand and she asked me where I came from, so I explained. There was a very brief exchange with her and the Duke of Edinburgh after that. I then walked into the next room and I think my hand was shaking. 

“The reason for that is that I hadn’t expected to speak to the Queen and there was a huge sense of occasion. That was particularly pleasant. She was a very diminutive lady, she seemed to me, but just a real presence."

He added: “The only other time, and it was not that I met her, was when she visited Jersey in 2005 for the 60th anniversary of the Liberation. I was there with my late father, who was part of Force 135, so it was important for him to come down.

“The sense I got was the huge warmth that she treated people with, that she had for islanders, and that clearly was reciprocated. Clearly, there was a significant warmth back.

“My sense is that that warmth was not only a function of her visit in 2005 but a hallmark of all of her visits to us.”


Sir William Bailhache

Commissioner of the Royal Court and former Bailiff, who was named in the Queen's Birthday Honours in 2017.


"It was a huge honour for me that I was knighted by Her Late Majesty personally at Buckingham Palace.

"It is a tribute to her humility that she congratulated me on my relatively  meagre years of service to the community - a few years compared to her whole adult life.

"I was pleased to have the opportunity of assuring her of the respect and affection in which she was held by her people in Jersey.

"May she enjoy her days in the long grass of eternity and rest with God in the peace she deserves."

Sir Philip Bailhache

Met the Queen during several of her visits to the island, including two as Bailiff in 2001 and 2005. Below, Sir Philip, who received a knighthood in the 1996 Birthday Honours, is pictured meeting Her Majesty as Solicitor General in 1978.

Solicitor General Philip Bailhache meets the Queen in 1978 - CREDIT: Jersey Heritage

Speaking during a Special Sitting of the States Assembly following Her Majesty's death, Sir Philip - now a Deputy of Grouville - remembered: "In 2005, some suggested there should be no flummery and that the appropriate toast to The Queen was simply 'The Queen'.

"I declined that advice and proposed a toast to 'La Reine, Notre Duc.'

"The Queen beamed in appreciation because she understood our history and understood that she was our queen because William, her ancestor, as Duke of Normandy, had triumphed at the Battle of Hastings. She appreciated the links of kinship and language with our Norman neighbours.

"In 2001, the then-President of the Département de la Manche, Jean-François Le Grand came to Jersey for the Royal visit and I introduced him to the Queen as our 'close friend' and 'cousin'.

"Her Majesty chatted for a few moments to him in French and afterwards the Normandy newspapers were absolutely full of it.

"I think that Jersey received more positive publicity in France from that encounter than at any other time. Republican France loved and admired The Queen, as do we all."


Express will be sharing a special digital edition celebrating the life of the Queen and her connection to Jersey on the day of Her Majesty's State Funeral on Monday 19 September.

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