London - 8th July 2009 - Ladies and Gentlemen, I am delighted that you are able to join me here at St. James’s Palace and I am enormously grateful to Jonathan Dimbleby for what was a very well-crafted obituary!
But Ladies and Gentlemen, Richard Dimbleby was, without doubt, one of the world’s finest broadcasters. He combined a flair for language with great human insight to report on some of the most significant moments of the twentieth century – not least when he guided millions of viewers on the day television came of age, with the B.B.C.’s coverage of my mother’s Coronation in 1953. And I remember that day well. I was about the age of four, and I also recall some wonderful lady coming up to me years ago and saying “I remember you so well at your parents wedding, with your little head appearing over the pew.” And I said “I think it was the Coronation”, and she said, “No, no, your parents’ wedding!”
Whenever he turned his powers of observation to those great occasions he always, to my mind, managed to stress that sense of the long-term view which duty and stewardship depend upon.
St. James’s Palace has been at the heart of that process ever since a seventeen year old Prince of Wales ascended the throne to become King Henry the Eighth exactly five hundred years ago this year. It was Henry who commissioned the building of this palace – exhibiting an interest in architecture that may possibly be hereditary! But towards the end of his reign he also showed an interest in sustainability. Perhaps it is not so well known that Henry instigated the very first piece of green legislation in this country. More>>>