Ladies and gentleman, on behalf of my wife and I, and do just want to offer our heartfelt thanks to Worcester City Council and to you all for making our visit today such a memorable one. The Commandery is a remarkable building, with a wonderfully rich and varied history and I can only say how thrilled I am that you have succeeded in preserving it so beautifully. There are countless people who deserve warmest congratulations for making it all possible and I know that many of them are in this hall today. You have preserved for Worcester a precious piece of its cultural heritage for which you are owed the greatest debt of gratitude.
Speaking of debts, ladies and gentlemen, it recently came to my notice that in this City there is a small matter of unfinished financial business left by King Charles II. It seems that the good people of Worcester, or at least the members of the Clothiers Company, have a long memory – in particular as far as unpaid debts are concerned. And by long, I mean nearly 400 years! Nevertheless, as a gesture of goodwill I have come today prepared to honour this debt of £453 and three shillings – which for those of you who did not grow up in pre-decimal days is £453 and 15 pence. I suspect it will not have escaped your notice, however, that I am resisting the temptation to pay the debt with full interest! – I wasn’t born yesterday (or 400 years ago!).
I am resisting the immense temptation to pay the debt with full interest!
Mr Acting Treasurer of the Clothiers Company, I would like to make full and final settlement of the debt owed by King Charles II as a gesture of goodwill. Please commence proceedings….