Following one of the most poignant and historic times in global history, The Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim has expressed their sadness and condolences to the Royal Family at the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.  Rt Wor Bro John McLernon Provincial Grand Master PGL Antrim said “On behalf of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Antrim, I would like to extend my sincere condolences to the Royal Family on the death of our much-loved Queen.

It was just last month that Freemasons from across Antrim gathered in Arthur Square to enjoy a recent visit from the Masonic Prestonian Lecturer for 2022, John Hawkins, who shared his knowledge on Freemasonry and the Royal Family.

  “We feel very honoured to have recently learned about the strong connections between the Royal Family and Freemasonry at the Prestonian Lecture just last week.

“It was a wonderful event and I would like to thank Dr John Hawkins for his time and his passion in delivering this lecture.”

The connection between the Royal family and Freemasonry has been a popular topic of masonic research for over 100 years, and now, alongside the lecture, a detailed book has also been written entitled The Royal Family and Freemasonry, by John Hawkins, Freemason, independent researcher and author.

The Prestonian Lecturer is a prestigious role held by an appointed Freemason under the authority of the United Grand Lodge of England. William Preston (1742-1818), regarded as the foremost Masonic educator of his time, left a legacy to provide for an Annual Lectureship on any chosen subject. The role lasts for one calendar year and has allowed Dr Hawkins, from Kingston upon Thames, to widely research the subject of Freemasonry and the Royal Family in this Jubilee Year. He carried out his extensive research on the subject in Lockdown and penned his work in the succeeding months. He now travels all over the UK and Ireland to present his lectures to a much-revered audience.

The Prestonian Lecture and book, which was presented to an audience of Freemasons in Arthur Square, Belfast, is by far the most comprehensive and profusely illustrated work on the subject to date. He was given unprecedented access to the archives of United Grand Lodge of England and has also drawn on material from the Royal Archives at Windsor and contemporary news reports.

Speaking earlier this morning, Dr Hawkins said: “The news of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has saddened me greatly and I wish to extend my heartfelt condolences to the Royal Family at this time.

“Over the past 18 months, I have had the immense privilege of researching the links between the Royal Family and Freemasonry – something I have enjoyed immensely and feel honoured to have done in Her Majesty’s 70th Anniversary of succession to the throne.

“Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was Royal Patron of the Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution and the Royal Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys – and thought to be a great supporter of the Craft due to her Grandfather’s connections with Freemasonry.

“He was Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, and was Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England, from 1875 until he ascended the throne as Edward the VII in 1901. He came to Ireland on a number of occasions and was appointed Grand Patron of the Grand Lodge of Ireland in 1871.

“His mother, Queen Victoria, was also a Patron of the Principal Masonic Charities and a supporter of the Craft. I came across several references in her letters to her children mentioning their attendance at Masonic meetings.

 “Before I started this project, I had no idea to the extent of the Royal Family’s connection to Freemasonry across the British Isles and Ireland. Since about 1737 there have been 23 members of the Royal Family who have been Freemasons. Female members of the Royal Family, whilst not Freemasons themselves, have been very active supporters of the Masonic Charities.

“Until recently there were 3 members of the current Royal Family who were Freemasons.

“Prince Phillip was a member of the Navy Lodge. Today we have The Duke of Kent who has just celebrated 55 years as Grand Master of United Grand Lodge of England and his younger brother, Prince Michael of Kent, who has just celebrated 40 years as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons.”

Dr Hawkins concluded: “I have enjoyed my research immensely and my time presenting my findings to audiences including in London, Edinburgh, Winchester, Sheffield and Belfast today. I am sure that interest in this subject will strengthen as we reflect on the wonderful life our Queen lead in serving our country, and feel honoured to have learned so much so recently.”

To learn more about the links between Freemasonry and the Royal Family you can purchase a copy of Freemasonry and the Royal Family, visit

Picture caption: John McLernon, Provincial Grand Master, PGL Antrim is pictured with John Hawkins, Prestonian Lecturer 2022 (GLASSES).