Queen Elizabeth II Wrote a Letter to the People of Sydney, Australia—But It Can’t Be Opened and Read Until 2085

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in 1986.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in 1986. / David Levenson/GettyImages

Gone are the days of Queen Elizabeth II’s Christmas broadcasts and world travels. But, on a day chosen by whoever the city’s mayor may be in the year 2085, the people of Sydney, Australia, will receive one last message from the late sovereign.

In November 1986, Queen Elizabeth II wrote a letter to the people of the Australian city. But no one has yet to read what she said: The mysterious letter cannot be opened until the year 2085. 

After the queen penned the letter, it was sealed and stored for safekeeping. Not even the queen’s closest aides knew its contents, which will remain a secret for another six decades. 

According to Australian news outlet 7 News, the letter is now stored in a glass case within a secure vault in the historic Queen Victoria Building in Sydney. As per the queen’s instructions, the letter should only be removed from the vault and read to the people of Sydney in 2085. 

“On a suitable day to be selected by you in the year 2085 A.D, would you please open this envelope and convey to the citizens of Sydney my message to them,” she wrote, then signed it, “Elizabeth R.” (The R stands for regina, which means “queen.”) 

Queen Elizabeth II visited Australia 16 times during her life and was known to have a deep love for the country. In return, many people in Oz also had a deep love and respect for the queen. In 1999, the country held a referendum to remove her as the head of state, but the people chose to keep Her Majesty the Queen as their sovereign; Australia now recognizes Queen Elizabeth II’s son, King Charles III, as their current head of state.