On the evening of Wednesday 17 October 2018, a reception was held at Lancaster House to celebrate the 150th anniversary of The Royal Commonwealth Society.
The reception brought together representatives from Her Majesty's Government, the Commonwealth diplomatic corps, Accredited Commonwealth Organisations and representatives from the RCS' international network of branches to highlight the Society's ongoing work.
The event came at the end of the RCS 2018 International Meeting, which saw delegates from over 35 branches and networks from around the Commonwealth come together in London to discuss The Royal Commonwealth Society's achievements and future work.
Principal guest at the reception was HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, who has been involved with the RCS' flagship youth literacy programme The Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition since 2014. The Duchess was welcomed to Lancaster House by a musical performance from One-Drum - a London-based collective of traditional African musicians and performers who in March this year delighted guests at the Commonwealth Service held in Westminster Abbey.
The Duchess of Cornwall was introduced to RCS Chief Executive Dr Greg Munro, RCS President Lord Howell and RCS Chair Dr Linda Yueh, before proceeding to the drinks reception where she was able to talk with RCS branch members and Associate Fellows who were in attendance.
The host of the reception, Lord (Tariq) Ahmad, Minister of State for the Commonwealth and UN, welcomed the assembled guests and gave a short speech, congratulating the RCS on reaching such a significant milestone and expressing admiration for the Society's work. He commented:
'Its [the RCS'] longevity is a credit not only to the dedication of the thousands of members, Fellows and supporters who have passed through its door. It is also a testament to their vision and energy, which has enabled the organisation to evolve and adapt to changing times. Your discussions over the last few days demonstrate that the Society remains forward-thinking and purposeful.' Lord Ahmad's full remarks can be read here.
In his speech, Lord Howell announced that The Duchess of Cornwall was to become the inaugural Vice-Patron of the RCS. In her acceptance speech, The Duchess remarked that 'Over the past 150 years the Royal Commonwealth Society has done so much to promote, both the value, and the values of the modern Commonwealth. You have championed human rights, democracy and sustainable development over 53 member states. You have much of which to be justly proud.' The Duchess of Cornwall's full speech can be read here.