It has been wonderful to see so many people from Gwent taking part in events around the Royal family this year. In addition to the usual busloads of people who went to Buckingham Palace Garden Parties this year, we were also allocated places for a number of (mostly younger) people to attend the wedding of The Duke and Duchess of Sussex. For most of us, just watching that extraordinary event was a remarkable experience; but for those lucky few who actually saw it take place in Windsor, it was something they will remember for the rest of their lives.
And the Royal family have been in Gwent on a number of occasions in recent months. The Princess Royal was in Cwm and Abertillery in January, and again in Cwmbran in July; and The Prince of Wales has conducted no less than 8 visits in Gwent so far this year. One of those visits was to the Celtic Manor Resort, where His Royal Highness named the second Severn crossing ‘The Prince of Wales Bridge’. His speech on that occasion is worth reading, at https://www.princeofwales.gov.uk/speech/speech-hrh-prince-wales-reception-celebrate-renaming-prince-wales-bridge
Within the Lieutenancy, we welcome 5 new deputy lieutenants: Dame Claire Clancy, who was formerly Chief Executive of the Welsh Assembly; Her Honour Judge Helen Mifflin; Susan Gwyer-Roberts, lately head teacher of Caldicot School; Brigadier Russ Wardle, formerly Commander of the Army in Wales; and Edward Watts, whose achievements and voluntary work are too many to list here. These five join the existing distinguished DLs who collectively perform a variety of civic duties on behalf of The Queen and the Lieutenancy.
We are all standing by for this year’s Remembrance Day – one of the most important days in the Lieutenancy’s calendar. 2018 has added significance: not only does Remembrance Sunday also fall on Armistice Day this year, but it also marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War. It is entirely appropriate that The Queen should be represented at as many Remembrance parades and services as possible throughout Gwent.
I am looking forward keenly to next academic term, when we begin a series of talks to schoolchildren at all levels (primary, secondary and college) on the role of the Monarchy in the UK. This coincides with the period that the UK is chair of the Commonwealth Heads of Government group: both the Commonwealth and The Queen provide an opportunity to look from a slightly different perspective at a range of subjects in the national curriculum. The pilot sessions we have held to date have been very positive, and I look forward to rolling out the scheme in September.
As ever, I have been awed and humbled by the people and groups who have received national recognition for their selflessness. 11 people from Gwent received Orders of the British Empire at various grades in the Queen’s Birthday List, and further 8 in the last New Year List. Anyone can nominate someone for an honour – the process is pretty straightforward, and is set out very clearly at https://www.gov.uk/honours. It is such a special way to recognise the extra contribution people make to their community. Please have a look at the check list at http://www.lordlieutenantofgwent.co.uk/awards-garden-parties/ for all the opportunities for rewarding exceptional achievements.