Just because Elizabeth II is the Queen of England, doesn't mean that she does not have time for Christmas cards. For 59 years, Britain’s longest reigning monarch, 89, formed a friendship with a man who would send her a card every year to mark the holiday.
“Ever since Grandpa could remember, he made sure to send a Christmas card to his king/queen,” Andrew Simes wrote on his Facebook page. Since 1952, the Queen would receive holiday cards from Andrew's grandfather, and the two finally had the chance to meet in 1972 when his and the Queen’s paths crossed in Izmir, Turkey.
Photo: JOHN STILLWELL/AFP/Getty Images
“When it was [grandpa’s] turn to be introduced to the Queen, instead of a formal handshake, she paused, smiled, and quipped: 'So it's you who keeps sending me those lovely Christmas cards," he wrote. “Of all her subjects, Grandpa stood out (perhaps because he mailed his letters from Turkey), but what a memory and level of kindness on the Queen's part.”
The duo’s friendship blossomed, and the monarch even wrote to congratulate her Christmas pen pal on his 100th birthday. Sadly, when Andrew’s grandfather passed away in 2011 at age 102, he took it upon himself to continue his grandfather’s Christmas card legacy, writing to the Queen, “to show our appreciation.”
Following his grandfather’s death, Andrew mailed his first card to Buckingham Palace and received a surprising letter from the Queen of England herself not long after. It read: “When I received a letter from a different Simes this Christmas, I instructed my office to research your grandfather's whereabouts. Therefore it is with much sadness, I have learned of his passing and extend my condolences to you and your family."
Photo: Andrew Simes
After reading the Queen’s response, Andrew said, “I couldn't fight back the tears then, nor can I fight them back every time I remember this story of two people who left a lifelong impression on each other.”
Posting a photo of this year’s holiday cards, Andrew wrote, “Today, just as every year, I sent my Christmas cards... but top of the list was reserved for Her Majesty. Wishing you all a Christmas as magical as this story.”