Queen for a day: Helen Randall

If she were to become Queen, Stonewall Housing Chair Helen Randall would place improving services for LGBTQI+ people and organizing accommodation for the vulnerable at the top of her list…

Waving to my loyal subjects as I cycle down the Mall on my trusty Brompton, wearing the royal crown and robes would be the first challenge.

No time for the royal carriage, as there is lots to do today and I will need to be nippy!


First, to organise accommodation, food banks and royal banquets at the royal palaces for anyone vulnerable and in need of a safe home.

Then, I’ll invite them to join me for a wave from the royal balcony.

In my day job I’m a partner with law firm Trowers & Hamlins, so obviously I wouldn’t be able to resist tinkering with some laws.

My firm (like the Queen) is politically neutral, but as Brexit is a bugbear for my Spanish wife and me, I’d break convention and repeal Royal Assent from the EU Withdrawal Act forthwith.

Next, I’ll use the Royal Prerogative to decree proper sustained funding and provision of more emergency, shared and supported housing for anyone of any age experiencing domestic abuse, seeking asylum, the threat of forced marriage, harassment or abuse, and those sleeping rough.

I would also improve access to more safe housing for LGBTQI+ people, because what exists is limited and restricted depending on where people come from. I’d finance this by a sale and leaseback of royal assets.

Just rewards

I’d grant royal privileges to any housing providers adopting the new Stonewall Housing Inclusion Standard.

Then I’d grant peerages for all those who have supported Stonewall Housing throughout our last 35 years. Top of the list would be L&Q, funders, volunteers, our amazing hard-working staff who manage miracles on a shoestring and our donors.

I’d use my royal influence to encourage more housing providers to support small, specialist community groups such as Stonewall Housing.

All the small things

Once the serious stuff is done, I’d enjoy indulging a few personal pet loves and hates: Mandatory clear name signs and numbers on streets, the re-introduction of brown paper bags in shops, properly accessible public transport and buildings and enforcing vigilance when using busy roads.

I’m useless at packing suitcases, so a valet would also be fantastic.

I’d spread the love by decreeing a new bank holiday to commemorate all the LGBTQI+ people who have been persecuted or committed suicide because of their status.

This is because so many still cannot count on love, acceptance or safety where they live or from some of the services they rely on.

I’d also hold the Bank Holiday on the third Monday of January and turn the statistically most depressing day of the year into a massive, colourful, vibrant party with lots of free champagne and chocolate – but no roast swan!