From her favourite brooch to a game of sepak takraw: 5 things to know about Queen Elizabeth's ties with Singapore

Queen Elizabeth tossing in the first ball for a sepak takraw match during her tour of Toa Payoh estate.
PHOTO: Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts Collection, Courtesy of National Archives of Singapore

As Britain's longest-serving monarch, Queen Elizabeth II became one of the world's most recognisable figures, with her face appearing in newspapers, TV programmes and internet memes.

So when Buckingham Palace broke the news of the Queen's death on Thursday (Sept 8), the world began mourning.

She had visited Singapore, a former British colony, three times after the nation's independence – in 1972, 1989 and 2006.

From shaking hands with local bigwigs and Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat dwellers, as well as having several places named after her, Queen Elizabeth left a significant mark on Singapore's history.

Here are five things you need to know about the Queen's ties with Singapore.

1. Touring a home kitchen in Toa Payoh 

Queen Elizabeth at a Toa Payoh HDB flat in 1972. PHOTO: Ministry of Information and the Arts Collection, courtesy of National Archives of Singapore

With Toa Payoh being one of Singapore's earliest HDB estates, several residents there had the opportunity to be up close and personal with the Queen when she first visited in 1972.

Describing it as a highlight of his childhood, Jerome Lim shared on the Singapore Memory Project about how his family showed the Queen around the kitchen of their three-room flat then.

"A neighbour had told me that I should not wash my hands after shaking the Queen's hand as it would wash the luck away," Lim shared. 

2. Drinking from the same glass 34 years later

During the same royal tour of Toa Payoh in 1972, Queen Elizabeth also dropped by Thomas Pung's home and was served a cold drink. 

Some 34 years later during her last visit to Singapore in 2006, the Queen once again drank from the same glass at Pung's home.

She might have also been inspired to pick up a new sport after observing a game of sepak takraw here in 2006.

3. Meeting two Prime Ministers and three Presidents

Queen's Elizabeth with PM Lee Hsien Loong in 2006. PHOTO: The Straits Times file

Queen's Elizabeth's visits to Singapore over the decades had seen her meeting two Prime Ministers — father and son Lee Kuan Yew and Lee Hsien Loong.

Three presidents also welcomed her to the Istana — Benjamin Sheares, Wee Kim Wee and S R Nathan.

Taking to Facebook on Friday, PM Lee said that the Queen will be remembered as a "great world leader".

4. Places in Singapore named after the Queen's coronation

Queen Elizabeth was only 25 years old when she ascended to the throne after the sudden death of her father King George VI in 1952.

Singapore, then a British colony, had several places named after the Queen to commemorate the occasion.

Besides Queenstown estate, Queen Elizabeth Walk at Esplanade Park was also named after the monarch.

A gate was also built in Sembawang back in 1953 to commemorate the Queen's coronation.

5. The Queen's favourite brooch

PHOTO: Reuters

When Queen Elizabeth attended the official opening for London Rail's new Elizabeth line on May 17, keen-eyed netizens here noticed that she had brought along a piece of Singapore with her.

The Queen was seen wearing a brooch – made of 18-karat yellow gold with 61 diamonds – that was designed by Singaporean Thomis Kwan.

The birds of paradise brooch, gifted by the Singapore government during her Diamond Jubilee in 2012, was reportedly one of the Queen's favourites, CNA reported.

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chingshijie@asiaone.com