The Prince of Wales paid a visit to County Durham today.
For those not familiar with its location or do not feel like checking out Google Maps, County Durham is located in North East England and a little less than a five-hour drive from London.
The first stop of the day saw HRH view the Bowes memorial stone inside the Church of St Mary the Less at St John’s Chapel, Durham University. Charles had the opportunity to see the memorial stone of Dame Elizabeth Bowes (1651-1736), who lived in Durham and is an ancestor of HRH through his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.
Charles unveiled a commemorative blue plaque in honour of Dame Elizabeth at Bowes House, her former family home, which is now part of St John’s College before visiting Open Treasure, touring the exhibition experience and then unveiling a plaque to declare it officially open.
The day in Durham continued with The Prince of Wales attending a concert at Durham Cathedral honouring 19th and 20th musician Sir Hubert Parry. HRH is a long admirer of the English composer. The concert ended with Parry’s most famous piece Jerusalem.
Fans of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge might be familiar with Sir Hubert Parry as his music was a large part of their wedding.
Most familiar was the London Chamber Orchestra playing Parry’s March from his Suite for Aristophanes’s The Birds, also known as the ‘Bridal March’, which was also performed just before the arrival of The then Princess Elizabeth for her wedding in 1947.
The concert was attended by 350 guests, all who were invited to join in the singing of Jerusalem at the close of the concert.
The concert is a preview of the Hubert Parry 100th Anniversary Concert, held on Saturday 10 March in Durham Cathedral.
After meeting performers, Prince Charles spoke with members of the public on Palace Green and enjoyed music by The County Durham Cadet Band and Bugles.
HRH then made a visit to The DLI Collection Gallery at Durham University’s Palace Green Library. Charles toured the Courage, Comrades and Community exhibition, which tells the history of the regiment through the stories of the soldiers who made it.
Charles continued his busy day meeting representatives of Fire and Rescue, Police, Ambulance and Mountain Rescue Services at the new Emergency Service Centre before heading to the John & Joséphine Bowes Galleries.
On arrival at The Bowes Museum Charles was met by local dignitaries and Museum Trustees, after which Sir Mark Wrightson, Chairman of the Trustees, and Museum Director Adrian Jenkins escorted HRH on a tour of the galleries.
“We are delighted to have the pleasure of welcoming the Prince of Wales to the Museum during this, our 125th anniversary year, and to have the opportunity to introduce His Royal Highness to the collection enjoyed by the Queen Mother during several visits, along with some of our more recent acquisitions,” commented Director Adrian Jenkins.
Joanna Hashagen, Curator of Fashion & Textiles, gave an overview of the Museum founders, John and Joséphine Bowes, before Head of Collections, Jane Whittaker, showed Charles the refurbished ceramics galleries and the botanical cabinet of Mary Eleanor Bowes, grandmother of John Bowes.
HRH then viewed several essential pieces from the paintings collection and the famous Silver Swan musical automaton mechanism.
Prince Charles’s grandmother, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother was Patron of the museum for 40 years.
Charles then unveiled a plaque to mark his visit to The Bowes Museum, after which he was presented with a gift for his wife, The Duchess of Cornwall before signing the Visitors’ Book.
The visit highlighted the strong friendship with Durham Cathedral, Durham University, County Durham and North East England. In 1998 Charles received an Honorary Doctorate of Civil Law from Durham University.
The Prince of Wales last visited County Durham in 2012 and Sunderland in 2015.