Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall mark 800th anniversary of Salisbury Cathedral

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall attended a service in celebration of the 800th anniversary of the foundation of Salisbury Cathedral yesterday.

The Dean of Salisbury, The Very Reverend Nicholas Papadopulos, greeted Prince Charles and Camilla and led them into the service.

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The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall speak with the Dean of Salisbury, the Very Reverend Nicholas Papadopulos during a visit in celebration of the 800th anniversary of Salisbury Cathedral

The cathedral is considered one of the leading examples of early English Gothic architecture, with the main body of the church being completed between 1220 and 1258.

During the service, The Prince of Wales gave a short address: “As we gather here, we are profoundly aware of all those who have gone before us, who have bequeathed us the magnificent legacy of this building, and who have maintained the spiritual community which has kept the flame of faith alive here for so many centuries.”

“Over the years, that faith has sustained this city and this land through many trials, and has done so much through the many months of the pandemic we are currently experiencing. Over the years, each challenge in turn has been overcome, and that is the case today when, thanks to the inspiring work of all those who have been involved in providing vaccines, we can now look forward with renewed hope.”

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The Prince of Wales makes a short speech during a visit in celebration of the 800th anniversary of Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral lays claim to a number of records, including the tallest church spire in the UK (a position taken in the 1540s, when Lincoln Cathedral’s spire collapsed) and being home to the best surviving of the four original copies of Magna Carta.

The Prince of Wales also praised the community of Salisbury after he and Camilla visited in 2018, in the wake of the Novichok poisonings.

“When my wife and I visited Salisbury in 2018, we saw your community spirit very much in evidence, as people met challenges they had never thought they would encounter with resources they never knew they had.”

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Prince Charles and Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall, at a service to celebrate the 800th anniversary of Salisbury Cathedral

“In your response to the pandemic too, it is clear from all I have seen and heard that you have met every hardship with an even greater resolve. No-one who contemplates this almost impossibly beautiful building can be in any doubt that those who raised it, in the face of every difficultly, have found successors who are their equal in determination.”

The Royals unveiled a specially engraved stone to mark the occasion. The engraved stone is carved into the Cathedral Work Yard. It is made of commemorative stone, consisting of 150 million year old Jurassic Limestone, which was extracted from the same seam as the stone originally used to build the Cathedral.

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A commemorative foundation stone unveiled by Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, The Duchess of Cornwall.

The stone will remain on display in the Cathedral until Saturday 12 December 2020, after which it will placed high up at the East end of the Cathedral, where restoration work is currently underway – a marker for future generations to discover.

On the royal visit, The Dean of Salisbury commented: “We are delighted that 2020 is drawing to a close with a royal visit to mark our 800th Anniversary. This is an occasion when Cathedral, city and the region can remember and give thanks for our shared past, and look ahead with hope and confidence.”

The Prince of Wales has been President of the Salisbury Cathedral Trust since 1985.

The Queen visited Salisbury, alongside The Duke of Cambridge, in October, for her first public appearance since the beginning of the pandemic. The Monarch and her grandson visited the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory to open its new Energetics Analysis Centre.

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