Prince Andrew visits the British Baha'i National Center
Dear Baha'i friends,
The National Spiritual Assembly was honoured this morning with a visit to the National Haziratu'l-Quds by His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, The Duke of York.
This first visit to the by a member of the Royal Family was part of the Royal Family's programme of visits to religious centres and the recognized faith communities in connection with the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen.
The Duke of York arrived just after 11.15am and was greeted at the door by the Secretary and the Treasurer of the National Spiritual Assembly, who conducted him upstairs to the Drawing Room. The Secretary gave a brief speech of welcome, in which he referred to the Tablet of Baha'u'llah to Queen Victoria, to the rescue of 'Abdu'l-Baha at the end of the First World War by General Allenby's army and to the range and diversity of the work of the Baha'i community in the UK and worldwide. He also requested the Duke to convey to Her Majesty the loyal greetings of the National Spiritual Assembly and of the Baha'i community on the occasion of her Golden Jubilee.
The Duke replied briefly, thanking the Baha'is for their welcome, explaining that it was the wish of the Royal Family to visit all the recognized religions during the Golden Jubilee year, and saying that he looked forward to learning more about the Baha'i Faith from those present.
The Secretary then presented the Baha'is, who had been invited by the National Assembly to take part, to the Duke. The Duke showed a keen interest in what people had to say and asked quite detailed questions of some. He shook hands with every individual in the room during his brief stay. As time went on he relaxed more and clearly began to enjoy himself, chatting and bantering, sometimes with individuals, sometimes with the whole gathering. There was a lot of laughter and the atmosphere was truly one of joy, appropriate to the occasion and the setting.
As the Duke prepared to leave, the Secretary invited 8 year old Iqan Fadaie, to present a copy of "Visions of A New World Order" by Brenton Edwards to the Duke. The fly-leaf of the book had been inscribed by a professional calligrapher with the words: "Presented to His Royal Highness The Duke of York on the occasion of his visit to the National Baha'i Centre, Thursday 11th July 2002. With the loyal greetings of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is and the Baha'i community of the United Kingdom."
The Duke thanked all those present for being there and said how much he had enjoyed his visit. He referred to the Faith as a "recognized religion" and commented on the importance of interfaith dialogue and tolerance.
Before he left the Haziratu'l-Quds he signed the visitors' book, a page of which had been inscribed by the same calligrapher with the words: "On the occasion of the visit of His Royal Highness The Duke of York to the National Haziratu'l-Quds, Thursday 11th July 2002, to mark the Golden Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen." The other guests also signed the visitors' book.
The Duke left to travel to his next engagement at approximately 11.50am.
The National Haziratu'l-Quds had been prepared to the very highest standard of cleanliness for the visit and very beautiful flower arrangements were provided by the National Assembly's Persian Committee (Lajneh Melli Khedmat va Olfat). The Drawing Room looked very elegant and the whole setting was entirely appropriate for the occasion.
With loving Baha'i greetings
National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is in the United Kingdom email@example.com
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©Copyright 2002, National Spiritual Assembly of The Bahá'ís of the United Kingdom