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by Natalie Owens, Beta Theta Chapter (Franklin College)
Kathleen Doyle with Queen

When Kathleen Doyle was initiated into Psi Chapter (University of Washington) in 1980, she had no idea where life would take her. Little did she know, it would take her to London, England, and a royal encounter with the Queen.

Kathleen served Psi Chapter as president and after graduation in 1982, continued with law school at the Univesity of Washington. After practicing law in Seattle for a few years, Kathleen moved her practice to London in 1989, and became a founding member of the Zetas Abroad alumnae group in February 2003.

Kathleen is now the Curator of Illuminated Manuscripts of the British Library, a position she has held for the past five years, and is still involved with Zetas Abroad as the group’s president.

Four years ago, she began working with Dr. Scot McKendrick, head of History and Classics at the Library, on an exhibition titled Royal Manuscripts, the Genius of Illumination.

“In this exhibition, we showcase over 150 richly decorated manuscripts owned by English monarchs,” Kathleen said. “These books are drawn principally from the Old Royal Library that was given to the nation in 1757 by George II and now forms part of the British Library.”

The exhibit, which was officially opened on Nov. 11, 2011, by the Queen of England and the Duke of Edinburgh, also helps us learn more about the English monarchy and Middle Ages.

Kathleen was one curator lucky enough to give the Queen a tour of the exhibit. She presented two Anglo-Saxon manuscripts, one written in gold from the year 966, and three prayer books. One was signed ‘Elisabeth the Queen’ by Elizabeth of York, the wife of Henry VII.

“The Queen was very gracious and shook my hand when I was presented to her,” said Kathleen.

In January, Kathleen gave a tour of the exhibit to Zetas Abroad members who have all been very supportive of her work.

“When I was working on the exhibition proposal, I spent one memorable evening discussing ideas with a Zeta sister,” Kathleen said. “Zetas have been a constant source of encouragement in the months of planning and preparation for public speaking events, and for meeting with the Queen.”

Kathleen’s next venture will be traveling around the country to give presentations about the exhibition. She also hopes to do some further research about the Old Royal Library and possibly publish a book to go with the exhibit.

To learn more about Kathleen and Dr. McKendrick’s exhibition, which runs until March 13, you can view photos on Facebook or download the iPad/iPhone/Android app that features over 50 of the manuscripts.

For more information about Zetas Abroad, contact Kathleen.

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