Baroness Benjamin says Queen had 'such empathy'

Baroness Floella Benjamin says the Queen had ‘such empathy’ when she told her of the adversity she faced coming to Britain as a Windrush child in the 1960s

  •  Baroness Floella arrived in Britain from Trinidad and Tobago aged 11 in 1960
  • Met Queen in 2001 receiving OBE and once again in 2012 on her diamond jubilee
  • Says Her Majesty had a ‘great sense of humour’ and chatted about her children
  • Told monarch of her childhood and difficulties of coming to Britain on Windrush 

Baroness Floella Benjamin says the Queen had ‘such empathy’ after she told her of the adversity she faced coming to Britain as a child. 

The well-known television presenter, 71, arrived in Britain from Trinidad and Tobago in 1960 aged 11, and before arriving in the UK was told ‘the Queen loved her’ and that she would be welcomed into ‘the motherland’. 

But her arrival into the country wasn’t as she had expected, and appearing on Lorrain today, she confessed that growing up in Britain was ‘tough’, and that she had to overcome many ‘barriers without hatred in her heart’  

Discussing her new children’s book about arriving as part of the Windrush generation, she spoke of meeting the Her Majesty in 2012 for her diamond jubilee as Chancellor of Exeter University. 

She told that the Queen had a ‘great sense of humour’, and she felt ‘privileged’ to spend two hours speaking to her and telling her the story of her childhood in Britain. 

Baroness Floella Benjamin, pictured after receiving her OBE in 2001,  says the Queen had ‘such empathy’ after she told her of the adversity she faced coming to Britain as a child

She spoke of meeting the Her Majesty in 2012 for her diamond jubilee as Chancellor of Exeter University and told Her Majesty had a ‘great sense of humour’ 

When asked about her meeting with the Queen, Baroness Benjamin said: ‘I want 2020 to be the age of enlightenment. 

‘The time when when wrongs were righted and the shackles were broken and eyes were open, to change our history books and make children feel that we can turn our faces to the future.

‘Because together, we will make this world a better place, with no resentment or anger or hatred. And when I met the Queen I told her all of this. ‘ 

Floella stepped down as Exeter Chancellor in 2016 after the university’s own diamond jubilee year, but in 2012 was able to meet Queen Elizabeth once again and show her around the university. 

The well-known television presenter ,71, arrived in Britain from Trinidad and Tobago in 1960 aged 11, and before arriving in the UK was told ‘the Queen loved her

Appearing on Lorraine today to speak about her new children’s book which details arriving as part of the Windrush generation, she spoke of her meeting with the Queen 

She said: ‘We had lunch  together and we chatted about all sorts of things, her children and food and the future, and I told her my story. 

‘I said to her: “Ma’am when I was a little girl, I would sing God save the Queen, I was told the Queen loved me and I was part of the motherland. 

‘But when I came to England, it wasn’t like that, it was tough and I had to overcome adversity. But I broke down those barriers and kept smiling, without hatred in my heart, showing respect and empathy for people.’ 

Floella told that after her meeting with the Queen, she found a white feather, which she believes to be a sign of her late mother looking over her.  

Floella, pictured on Commonwealth Day this year, collected her damehood at Buckingham Palace earlier this year 

The Baroness went on: ‘She had such empathy for the story I told her and had a great sense of humour as well.

‘I felt quite privileged to have spent two and a half hours with the Queen and when she left I found a white feather. Whenever something wonderful happens I find a white feather and I think it’s my mum looking over me.’  

In March this year, Baroness Floella collected her damehood at Buckingham Palace, sharing a Namaste bow with Prince Charles amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

The pair were spotted exchanging the greeting, which avoids any unnecessary touching of hands, during the investiture ceremony.

The Baroness told that after her meeting with the Queen, she found a white feather, which she believes to be a sign of her late mother looking over her

Known to millions as the host of Play School and Play Away, Baroness Benjamin, a beloved children’s TV presenter, was recognised for her services to charity in the New Year Honours List. 

The Liberal Democrat life peer has dedicated over 40 years to campaigning for young people and supports charities including Barnardo’s, Sickle Cell Society and Beating Bowel Cancer.

After receiving her damehood, the 71-year-old, said: ‘You get such a buzz from giving back and making a difference, changing the world, and to get an honour like this after these years it’s like wonderful recognition.’  

A ‘huge admirer’ of Prince Charles, Baroness Benjamin said she was ‘thrilled’ to receive her damehood from him.  

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