The Duke’s second day in Lower Saxony began with an exploration of the shared history which underpins this Official Visit.
At the Lower Saxony State Museum, HRH visited the exhibition detailing the “Personal Union” between the crowns of Britain and Hanover, which began in 1714 and lasted for 123 years. Many of the items on display have been loaned from the UK, including the State Crown of George I by Her Majesty The Queen. The Duke was shown portraits of the five Hanoverian monarchs, whose reigns became a defining period for Britain’s political and constitutional development, and produced a rich exchange of cultural and academic traditions. Pupils from Wilhelm-Raabe School in Hanoveracted as guides in explaining many of the exhibits.
Next, The Duke called in on the headquarters of TUI AG, Europe’s leading travel group and a major investor in the UK. Following a presentation about the company’s graduate training scheme, HRH was introduced to a group of new recruits, who relayed their experience in moving from full-time education into the workplace. The German company owns TUI Travel, which is based in Crawley and has over 54,000 employees.
The Duke was hosted for lunch at the Lower Saxony State Guest House by Minister President, Stephan Weil and was joined by local civic and business leaders. Afterwards, HRH visited Hanover’s Georgengarten, where Mayor Stefan Schostok invited The Duke to mark the 300th anniversary of the Personal Union by naming a flower. Thus, the George I Rose was christened.
The final engagement of the visit was the traditional British Embassy Garden Party, held in honour of Her Majesty The Queen’s birthday. To mark the anniversary of the Personal Union, this year’s event took place in Hanover, where guests assembled at Herrernhausen Palace, the historic residence of the Hanoverian Royal Family.
HRH was received by an Honour Guard from the 9th/12th Royal Lancers, before attending an informative and entertaining lecture on Personal Union by the historian, Dr David Starkey. Focusing on constitutional and cultural developments, Dr Starkey reflected on the often understated influence of The Duke’s Hanoverian forbears.
Hanover may have given Britain five kings, but on this day Britain gave Hanover the weather – so when the heavens opened, the Garden Party was temporarily moved indoors. The Duke spoke warmly about the UK’s bond with Lower Saxony, observing that the period of Personal Union had proved “of enormous influence in the success of the UK as we know it today”. The Garden Party ended with a Beating Retreat ceremony, the last before the planned departure of 1st Armoured Division from Germany in 2015.
At the end of his two-day visit, The Duke tweeted a personal message of thanks in German, expressing gratitude to his hosts for their wonderful hospitality and looking forward to a speedy return.