Mum stabbed 24 times while pregnant speaks of 'honour' attending Queen's funeral

A mum who miraculously survived being stabbed multiple times while eight months’ pregnant has spoken of her emotion at being able to attend the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II.

Natalie Queiroz was recognised in the monarch’s final birthday honours list in June for her work as an anti-knife crime campaigner since being brutally attacked in 2016.

‘If I’m really honest, I genuinely shouldn’t be here,’ she told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

‘I was stabbed 24 times in an attack that lasted nine minutes, and I was eight months’ pregnant at the time. It happened in broad daylight.

‘The knife did hit all the major organs and if the police hadn’t been on the scene as quickly as they were – they actually administered first aid and managed to keep me alive until the air ambulance helicopter airlifted me out.

‘They said when I landed at the major trauma centre I probably had less than five minutes left to live – they didn’t think I was actually going to make the helicopter flight.

‘Unbelievably, [my baby] did survive – I was stabbed through the stomach and the knife missed her by 2mm.

‘They delivered her during theatre when they were working to save my life, and she was born not breathing and they managed after five minutes to get her resuscitated and then they put her into a coma because she had quite severe brain damage from being oxygen-starved.

‘If you met her now she is six-and-a-half years old, she is funny, she chatters away – she did have a speech delay but she’s overcoming so many different odds, it’s incredible.’

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Natalie’s attacker – her then-partner, Babur ‘Bobby’ Raja – was jailed for 18 years for attempted murder.

The mum-of-three, of Sutton Coldfield in Birmingham, was made MBE for services to young people after her youth work across the West Midlands in recent years and provisions of help to victims of domestic abuse.

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Natalie is one of nearly 200 workers invited to the Westminster Abbey service today, alongside royalty, politicians and leaders from around the world.

She added: ‘People use the words “absolute honour” and “I’m humbled” and “it’s surreal”, but those words are not said lightly.

‘Her Majesty the Queen was such an incredible woman, it was just such an emotional moment when we heard of her passing.

‘To be part of that – to able to say quietly to myself as she passes by, “Thank you for everything,” and to pay my respects – is really, really humbling and I think it’s a testament to Her Majesty that she wanted it to be that members of the public were there.

‘It wasn’t going to be just statesmen and royalty, she wanted her people there and that really means a lot to know that this was part of what she wanted.’

Other members of the public who have been invited include an 88-year-old woman who records talking books for the blind, a man who runs a charity which helps pay for veterans’ funerals, and May Parsons, the nurse who delivered the first coronavirus vaccine.

Representatives of charities for which the Queen was patron will also join the exclusive guest list.

Fiona Gardner said it ‘deeply moving’ to have been invited to represent the Women’s Royal Army Corps Association.

The vice president of the association said: ‘I think it’s going to be incredibly emotional, and extremely poignant.

‘I have to say I’m incredibly honoured because I’m representing the members of the WRAC Association – which includes members of the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) who, of course, served alongside her late majesty.

‘There was such a strong connection between her majesty and former members of the ATS, around 230 of our members are former ATS, we’ve got ladies who served with anti-aircraft, we’ve got ladies who served at Bletchley.

‘That connection has only got stronger over time because her majesty has been so kind to us as our patron.

‘When I met her she was just so genuine, so on the spot, she knew so much but she was so kind and put people at ease when she met them.

‘It’s really moving to think about that 70 years of service and the common bond between women who served in uniform.’

The prime minister’s official spokesperson said: ‘I can confirm that among the guests invited to attend will be almost 200 people who were recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours this year.

‘These individuals, drawn from across the UK, were recognised for their extraordinary contributions including the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, people who volunteered in their communities, charity workers and those who work in healthcare, education and the wider public sector.’

Although an exact guest list has not been released, world leaders present at a state reception at Buckingham Palace last night give a good idea of who is expected to attend.

Those spotted so far include global leaders, royals, key workers and volunteers.

A full schedule for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral and committal service can be found here.

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