The high point of 2003, and no doubt for several years to come, was the visit of HRH the Duke of Gloucester, on 24 July.
While such visits were commonplace in the C19th, there have only been two others, of similar importance, in the last century. Churchill came in December 1942 and, like the Duke, had lunch in a tent. He was inspecting his CDL tank.
King Edward VII came in October 1905 and, during that comfortable visit, thirty years before the Hall was demolished, he became the first British Monarch to drive a car in the North of England.
The Lord Lieutenant suggested this year’s visit after the BHCT won a Rural Architecture Award. Who could be a more appropriate visitor than a Duke who is, inter alia, a qualified architect, a Trustee of the British Museum and a Commissioner of English Heritage?
At his own request, the Duke met all but three of our ground floor community. His private secretary expressed a wish to meet as many people as possible but, in the end, we ran out of time. The Duke inspected a model, watched a video, visited the Chapel, had lunch and unveiled a memorial to the last battle on English soil.
The weather was sufficiently kind to allow lunch on the Terrace and a flypast by 39 Sqdn RAF.