A Royal Welcome

Above: Natalie Pray, in red, met Prince Charles on July 4, 2017, at a Gala Recital and Dinner at Buckingham Palace celebrating the forthcoming galleries.

Seven stories above the nave of Westminster Abbey, a new Royal museum in London honors Queen Elizabeth II, England’s longest reigning monarch. Tehre, in addition to the effigies of kings and queens, the marriage license of His Royal Highness Prince William and Catherine Middleton, a little piece of Greenwich has a royal place.

In the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries, a specially built window, inset with medieval glass fragments, features the names of Greenwich residents Natalie and Malcolm Pray. Natalie, Malcolm’s widow, is a board member of the American Fund for Westminster Abbey and was in “on the ground floor” of the creation of the galleries. She raised $1.5 million toward the $31.6 million cost to transform the primitive thirteenth-century site, where monks once prayed, into the new galleries.

The window that hosts the names of gallery donors, including Natalie and Malcolm Pray

In June she attended the Royal family opening, when the Queen had her first view. Afterward the monarch met with Natalie and other major donors on the floor of the Abbey. “She was wearing white pristine gloves, and gave me a gentle hand. I dipped into a curtsy and said, ‘Your Majesty.’ She had the loveliest smile, so sweet and sincere.”

Natalie, a native of Queensland, Australia, returned from the Royal limelight to preside over the Queen’s ninety-second birthday celebration as president of the Greenwich Branch of the English-Speaking Union.

“These projects are a pleasure and close to my heart,” she says, “and also close to my culture. These smaller Anglo-American organizations don’t have big corporate support; therefore, I do what I can to have an impact.”

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries at Westminster Abbey

All images are contributed.

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