Today, The Prince of Wales, in his role as Patron of the Intelligence Agencies, visited the Headquarters of GCHQ in Cheltenham. The visit came as part of the Agency’s Centenary celebrations, marking 100 years of the organisation working to keep the UK safe.
In 2011, His Royal Highness became the first Royal Patron of all three main intelligence agencies (M15, SIS and GCHQ). The Prince maintains a close interest in each of the agencies’ work and has regular meetings with senior representatives.
During the visit, His Royal Highness met with community groups who work with the agency and visited the GCHQ Museum to view a series of historical artefacts. These included intelligence reports and the Royal Codebook.
Whilst at the headquarters, The Prince gave a speech to staff in which he said:
“Since 2011, it has been one of the greatest privileges in my life to have been Royal Patron of the three Intelligence Agencies, in which capacity I have sought to champion and celebrate the remarkable work that you do and the essential role you play on behalf of this country.”
Each year, His Royal Highness presents the Intelligence Agencies awards, officially known as ‘The Prince of Wales’s Intelligence Community Awards’. The awards were The Prince’s idea, as a way to honour those whose vital work could never be celebrated publicly.
Before departing, His Royal Highness opened the GCHQ Centenary Garden and viewed a flypast by the Red Arrows.