Member(s) of the Royal Family

My visits have taken me across the whole Cornish landscape from farms to forests to gardens, foreshores, quays, rivers, mines, churches, Truro Cathedral, castles, museums, G.P. surgeries, town halls – the list seems to be endless! The one common factor across all of this has been the remarkable people.

Keep writing those books and poems, painting those pictures, making those films, making those jokes, supporting those charities, and giving service in the way that you do. Gyles tells me that we have in this room just under ten thousand years of accumulated experience and endeavour. No wonder we are all exhausted!

I am very proud to be Patron of the Queen’s Green Canopy and it is, I think enormously encouraging how many projects are developing around that particular initiative as a very special way of marking the Platinum Jubilee.

I am enormously touched and flattered to have been asked to follow in my father’s footsteps, all those years of his footsteps, here, at Royal College of Surgeons.

For my part, you can have no idea how pleased I am that, after these recent years of separation, this is not a video meeting.  Useful as all the technology may be, it is still a great joy to see you all in person here– and without the mute button to cause a certain amount of confusion! 

I treasure the friendships we have built over these past seventy years, and look forward to their deepening in the years ahead.  As we build back from the pandemic that has devastated so many lives; as we respond to climate change and biodiversity loss that threatens our very existence; and as we see lives destroyed by the unattenuated aggression of violent forces… such friendships are more important than ever.

In the strength of our unity, we, the women and men of the Commonwealth, stand with victims and survivors, who, despite the temptation to hide away in silence, speak up so that others know they aren’t alone – whether in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Pacific or the Caribbean and Americas.  In so doing, we have the opportunity to end gender-based violence and those laws and practices that discriminate against women. 

If we can commit to being bold in our ambition – but more importantly in our action – the Commonwealth, as one of the world largest ‘common markets’ has a real opportunity to lead the world in the right direction.

Since 2012, you have more than surpassed your aim to “excite, enthral and entertain about the past” and, in so doing, you have become the largest festival in the world dedicated solely to history.  Not bad for an event whose original intention was rather more modest - to raise funds for the local cricket club!