In a new feature on The Crown Chronicles, we look at this week’s other royal news stories – the engagements carried out by minor members of the Royal Family, that often go unreported.
The Duke of York in Bahrain
In an unannounced visit, Thursday saw The Duke of York visit Bahrain. The Duke of York attended the opening of Britain’s first permanent military base in the Middle East in more than four decades in the Gulf country of Bahrain, and held a Pitch at the Palace event.
The UK Naval Support Facility can house up to around 500 Royal Navy personnel, including sailors, soldiers and airmen, in a region where maritime security ensures oil shipments and goods make it from Asia to Europe. British officials have described it as the first permanent British base east of the Suez Canal since 1971.
— Bahrain Embassy UK (@BahrainEmbUK) April 5, 2018
The facility will give the UK an expansive presence along key international shipping routes.
“The aim of the Royal Navy being out here anyway is to enhance and ensure the maritime security in the region, and whether or not that’s law and order on the high seas, countering piracy, countering terrorism, making sure that the high seas are all safe for the free-flow of commerce, the free flow of trade to be able to take place,” said Commodore Steve Dainton, UK Maritime Component Commander.
— Bahrain Embassy UK (@BahrainEmbUK) April 5, 2018
The new British hub makes it easier for the Royal Navy to conduct longer-term deployments in the Gulf and will offer engineering and logistical support for ships. The facility includes sleeping accommodations, sport facilities and recreational areas for troops.
Prince Andrew accompanied Bahrain’s Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa for the ceremony in Salman Port.
Bahrain, led by a Sunni monarchy, was rocked by Arab Spring-inspired protests in 2011 by its Shia majority and others aimed at demanding more political freedoms from the ruling Al Khalifa family. The government put down the demonstrations with help from Saudi and Emirati troops.
The Duke of York is visiting the British University of Bahrain (Salford University’s Bahrain Campus), Bahrain and unveiled a plaque commemorating the visit. pic.twitter.com/BqFh2Wxbjy
— The Duke of York (@TheDukeOfYork) April 5, 2018
The Duke also attended a Pitch@Palace Bahrain event. The Queen’s second son founded Pitch@Palace in 2014 to provide a platform to amplify and accelerate the work of entrepreneurs, by providing them with the best opportunities to access mentors and advisers, distribution systems and supply chains, connections and investment.
As part of Pitch@Palace Global, Pitch@Palace Bahrain aims to develop connectivity between Bahrain and other key markets. The winners will be invited to Pitch at Pitch@Palace Global at St. James’s Palace in December.
— Bahrain Embassy UK (@BahrainEmbUK) April 6, 2018
The Duchess of Gloucester visited New Scotland Yard
On Wednesday 4th April, The Duchess of Gloucester visited New Scotland Yard to learn more about the impact upon, and support provided, to officers and staff who were involved with the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower last summer; the fire in June 2017 saw 71 people lose their lives and untold distress to those bereaved, the survivors and the local community.
Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Gloucester visits New Scotland Yard to learn more about the impact upon Officers and staff the Grenfell Tower tragedy had. https://t.co/6loJD6LQuS pic.twitter.com/BySOfYdukp
— Police Mutual (@PoliceMutual) April 5, 2018
The Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick, greeted Her Royal Highness and introduced her to a group members of the force. They included some of the first responders to the tower, call handlers, victim identification officers, family liaison officers for the bereaved families, occupational therapists and a police cadet.
They spoke with Birgitte, 71, to explain their roles and the lasting emotional impact of dealing with such a tragedy, as well as describing the support offered by the force and answering the Duchess’s questions.
The Commissioner said: “We were very grateful to have Her Royal Highness pay a visit to our officers and staff to discuss how they dealt with the tragic events of that night while also taking time to understand the effects upon them.
“Our thoughts of course remain with the bereaved families and all those affected in the local community by the fire; we must never underestimate the horror of that night, the losses and injuries suffered and its long lasting impact on so many people.
“I am immensely proud of the hard work and professionalism of my officers and staff in incredibly difficult situations such as Grenfell Tower. They continue to work with determination and compassion for those directly affected, and their welfare will always be of the utmost importance to me and I know they appreciate the support and kind words from The Duchess today.”
The Duke of Gloucester visited Cornwall
On Thursday, The Duke of Gloucester visited the picturesque village of Coverack in Cornwall, that was ravaged by severe flooding last July. He met with villagers, volunteers and emergency services who were involved with and affected by the flood devastation.
A celebration lunch, organised by Cornwall Council to coincide with the royal visit, was held at the Paris Hotel – where nine months ago affected residents were rallying to work out how to rebuild their village.
— Spotlight (@BBCSpotlight) April 5, 2018
Our Projects Coordinator Kanwar Singh meeting the Duke Of Gloucester yesterday in #Coverack where our team assistsed after the flash floods last year. Our Tnx to people of #Coverack for the warm welcome @CoverackHarbour @CornwallLifeMag @CornwallCouncil pic.twitter.com/RBe6DfNOP9
— Khalsa Aid (@Khalsa_Aid) April 6, 2018
“With Easter already here and a new tourist season underway, visitors are once again enjoying everything the picture postcard Coverack has to offer – which is testament to this community’s resilience, and a lot of hard work by many people,” said Cornwall Council’s deputy leader Julian German.
“We all know that behind the scenes there is still work to do. There are still residents waiting to return home, insurance claims outstanding and rebuilding work to complete.
“But, it says so much to me about this community, that last year – just a week after one of the UK’s worst weather events in 100 years – Coverack was open for business and welcoming visitors. Not even another deluge of weather a few weeks ago dampened your spirit.”
The Environment Agency recorded approximately 180mm of rainfall in three hours – three times the monthly average for the whole of July and enough to fill the Royal Albert Hall four times over.
— Cornwall Council (@CornwallCouncil) April 5, 2018
This led to more than 50 homes and businesses being flooded and the main road washed away when rain, thunder and hail hit Coverack on that unforgettable afternoon. Two members of the public were winched to safety from the roof of their flooded home and a mum and her young daughters were piggybacked out by firefighters.
After walking from the restored car park on the entrance to the village to the Paris Hotel, meeting residents and those involved in the restoration of Coverack, Prince Richard, 73, then headed off, visibly-impressed by the resilience of the Cornish village.
After visiting Coverack, the Duke went on to visit the Cornish Sea Salt company at Polgwarra, Porthkerris on the Lizard Peninsula, before officially reopening Helston Railway and heading on to Tom Raffield Limited at Nankerris.
The Duke of Kent remembered Martin Luther King at Westminster Abbey service
Also on Wednesday, The Duke of Kent attended a service at Westminster Abbey entitled “Rediscovering Justice: A Service of Hope on the 50th anniversary of the death of the Reverend Dr Martin Luther King Jr”.
— Westminster Abbey (@wabbey) April 4, 2018
At the start of the service, wreaths were laid at the Innocent Victims’ Memorial by Amanda Khozi Mukwashi, Chief Executive, Christian Aid, and beneath the statue of Martin Luther King Jr above the Abbey’s Great West Door by Lewis Lukens, Deputy Chief of Mission of the United States Embassy.
In his bidding, the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, said: “We come to give thanks for the life and work of the Reverend Dr Martin Luther King Jr, assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, fifty years ago today.”
— Westminster Abbey (@wabbey) April 4, 2018
“Today, working together with Christian Aid, we hope again to learn from the example of Martin Luther King and to commit ourselves afresh to keeping the dream alive of justice for all peoples under God and of peace in the world.”
The service was sung by the Martin Luther King Celebration Choir.
The Duke of Kent visited the Isle of Sheppey
On Thursday 5th April, The Duke of Kent visited five locations on the Isle of Sheppey.
The Duke’s first visit was to the Guildhall Museum at Queenborough to meet the Charter 650 Committee which was formed to celebrate 650 years of the town’s Royal Charter which was given by King Edward lll.
Among those greeting him were MP Gordon Henderson, Mayor of Swale Cllr Colin Prescott, Queenborough Mayor Cllr Mick Constable, High Sheriff of Kent George Jessel and museum manager Linda Vine.
Prince Edward, 82, then toured the fire-damaged Dockyard Church at Blue Town where the Sheerness Dockyard Preservation Trust are managing a multi-million renovation to bring the building back to community use. The project has won a £4.71 million from the heritage Lottery Fund.
~ DUKE OF KENT VISITS DOCKYARD CHURCH TODAY ~
We were honoured to have a special visitor today. The Duke Of Kent took time from his tour of Sheppey this lunchtime, including Queenborough and Eastchurch to join some of the Trustees and other key people on the project. pic.twitter.com/vqk4DvQFsH
— Dockyard Church (@Dockyardchurch) April 5, 2018
The new facility will include cafes, rooms for fledgling companies and a permanent home for a huge John Rennie scale model of the Sheerness Dockyard which he designed. The model is currently housed in Portsmouth.
During his visit the Royal met Lillie May, 12, and Archie Stewart, 13, from the Isle of Sheppey Oasis Academy. Archie, from Sheerness, said: “The Duke asked us what we knew about the church so we told him it had been used as a youth club and boxing club before it burned down in 2001.”
After lunch, the Duke was driven to Eastchurch to inspect the Aviation Museum which is gearing up to celebrate 100 years of the RAF and was met by manager Peter West and trustees Martin and Rosemary Hawkins.
Eastchurch played a pivotal role in the creation of the RAF and is widely hailed as the birthplace of British aviation. The museum is on a former RAF airfield which is now part of HMP Standford Hill Open Prison.
While there, The Queen’s cousin met prisoners who are helping the community and have opened a craft workshop turning old wooden pallets into furniture and selling honey from bees kept on the site.
Later, the Duke returned to London where, as President of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, he attended the Gallipoli World Peace Concert at Cadogan Hall, to commemorate the fallen soldiers of one of the bloodiest military campaigns of the First World War.
The concert was organized by the Yunus Emre Institute and saw The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra perform Turkish composer Can Atilla’s powerful 2015 requiem symphony Gallipoli – the 57th Regiment.
In attendance with Prince Edward were Turkish Ambassador to London Abdurrahman Bilgic and Yunus Emre Institute President Seref Ates, as well as representatives from the ANZAC (Australia, New Zealand and Canada), countries who fought against Turkey during the Gallipoli campaign in 1915.
According to official figures, up to 400,000 died during the Gallipoli campaign.
“This concert will honour those who lost their lives at Gallipoli. We still remember the heroism of both sides, all together in friendship,” the Turkish ambassador said in his welcoming speech, referring to the Turkish and ANZAC troops.