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Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester visited Durham Cathedral

As part of the ‘Year of Cathedrals’ initiative in 2020, The Duke of Gloucester, was set to visit 12 cathedrals across the country to help raise the profile of cathedrals and showcase them as important places of worship, centres of excellence, and great visitor attractions.

Due to Covid-19 the visits were unable to take place, however His Royal Highness was keen to revive the idea with a visit to Durham Cathedral with The Duchess of Gloucester.

The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester were welcomed to the cathedral with a visit to the works yard, and the Durham Cathedral Museum. They were taken on a tour of the cathedral, including stops at the Durham Foodbank collection point, Bede’s Tomb and the Shrine of St Cuthbert.

Reverend Canon Michael Hampel, Acting Dean of Durham said:

‘The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester are keen and experienced Patrons of architecture and music – at which Durham Cathedral provides fine examples of both in terms of its magnificent buildings and a world-class choir. We are delighted that Their Royal Highnesses came to see at first hand our treasures – both human and fabric. We have been looking forward to their visit very much and welcomed them warmly.’

The Duke of Gloucester, cousin of Elizabeth II and The Duchess of Gloucester represent the King at official engagements.

To inspire his passion from his previous career as an architect, The Duke of Gloucester was taken on a tour of the works yard, seeing first-hand the heritage skills of the Stonemasons at work and hearing more about caring for the cathedral, which forms part of Durham’s UNESCO World Heritage Site.

As a great patron of cathedral music, The Duchess of Gloucester was welcomed into Durham Cathedral Museum to see music manuscripts from English composer William Byrd, which are cared for as part of the cathedral’s collection. This year is the 400th anniversary of Byrd’s death and Durham Cathedral has some of the most important sources of Byrd’s music in their collections.

The Durham Cathedral Choir then performed within the Monks Dormitory, and sang two of the Byrd pieces that Their Royal Highnesses viewed. After speaking to young choristers, the Duke and Duchess were presented with a specially caved stone by the cathedral's stonemasons. They were then taken on a tour of the cathedral meeting staff and volunteers, including 94 year old Lillian Groves guiding them around the Shrine of St Cuthbert.

The visit to Durham Cathedral formed part of The Duke and Duchess’s wider visit to the North East.


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