Coram has been supported by royals from the early days of the Foundling Hospital. It is thought that Queen Caroline, wife of King George II, knew about Thomas Coram’s campaign for abandoned children via the 21 Ladies of Quality and Distinction who signed his petition. She was certainly interested in projects aimed at supporting vulnerable women and children and after she died her husband signed the Royal Charter that established the Foundling Hospital.
More recently, several prominent members of the Royal Family have visited the charity or charity projects to show their support for our work with vulnerable children. In 1918, Queen Mary, wife of George V, saw Foundling Hospital pupils at work in their classrooms while her son Prince Albert, later George VI, was photographed in 1919 inspecting the Foundling Hospital juvenile organisation.
In 1926, King George V and Queen Mary were photographed together at the Foundling Hospital. Later in 1936, Queen Mary visited again with her grandchildren, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret. Also in 1936, the year Prince Albert succeeded to the throne as George VI, his wife, the Duchess of York (Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother) attended the Foundling Hospital Day Nursery and Toddlers Play Centre.
In 1949, it was the turn of her daughter, Princess Margaret who visited the Coram offices on the site of the current Foundling Museum.
Her Majesty, The Queen visited the Thomas Coram Foundation for Children Children’s Centre in 1975 and Coram Campus again in 2009 when she was entertained by a choir of children singing Handel’s ‘Hallelujah Chorus’. In 1990 Diana, Princess of Wales, met families at one of Coram’s outreach projects.
On December 5 2018 The Queen visited again and opened a new building dedicated to children and named in her honour – The Queen Elizabeth II Centre. During her visit, The Queen met Edward Newton, aged 102, the oldest surviving pupil of the Foundling Hospital. The occasion was particularly poignant for Mr. Newton who also met King George V and Queen Mary during their 1926 visit to the Foundling Hospital.
Coram’s relationship with The Royal Family began in 1739, when King George II signed a Royal Charter, creating the original Foundling Hospital.
Over 250 years after it was signed, during her 2018 visit to the charity, The Queen viewed The Royal Charter, with Coram’s Chief Executive Dr Carol Homden and Paul Curran, a Coram Trustee.