The River Thames outside DLD College London

From the Principal #151

10th June 22

Principal Irfan LatifWelcome back after what seemed like a very long half-term holiday. I hope it was a time of reflection, relaxation, and celebration as we had the extended bank holiday weekend in honour of Her Majesty the Queen. On Sunday 5th June 2022, Queen Elizabeth II became the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee. This celebration marks a massive 70 years of service and a historic occasion for everyone in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth. The four-day celebration was an opportunity to reconnect with friends and family and engage with our local communities, especially after the challenges of the past few years. Our boarders were in for an absolute treat! They were lucky enough to attend the Trooping of the Colour on the Mall up from Buckingham Palace, watched the flypast from the 18th floor of DLD, danced to the star-studded ‘Party at the Palace’, enjoyed a classic British Afternoon Tea prepared for them by our talented chefs in the Global Kitchen and and attended the magnificent Platinum Jubilee Pageant. I thank our fantastic boarding team, who created this unique learning opportunity for our students, which embodied our vision of ‘London is our Classroom’.

The Queen’s presence has often been a source of comfort, reassurance and steadfastness to many as the years have gone by, and her solid and gentle leadership has been an example to us all. Reigning over fourteen different prime ministers, Queen Elizabeth II has seen some tremendous global changes and challenges during the time she has sat on the throne. Yet she has come through that with an excellent reputation, a testament to her strong character and resilience. One particular event convinced me of the Queen’s lasting leadership legacy. Only a year ago, she was present at her husband’s funeral, Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, to whom she had been married for 69 of those 70 years on the throne. Sat alone, a much-reduced remembrance of 30, sources suggested that it had been looked at to override regulations at the time, a special occasion. But as with all true leaders, she decided to use her privilege to send a message that she is no different from the people she serves. That image of her sitting alone in the chapel at Windsor sums it up for me. Leadership is easier in celebration and when the focus is on you, and authentic leadership is so often shown in the deepest adversity, where you still work for so much greater than yourself.

So many entitled leaders could do with looking at how the Queen has conducted herself during her impeccable reign and let that be something to take from this historic Platinum Jubilee. Whether you like the Royal Family or not, you can’t deny the Queen’s commitment to her vow to serve the people when she said those immortal words, “When I was 21, I pledged my life to the service of our people. Although that vow was made in my callow days when I was green in judgement, I do not regret nor retract one word of it.”

Exams continue to be the focus this half term and as we look to ‘develop the next generation of leaders to take their place in a challenging and diverse world” at DLD, we hope our students, now and when they are 21, will be inspired by Her Majesty The Queen. Thank you, Ma’am, for your unwavering leadership and duty to us all.

Irfan H Latif