Royal Visit to celebrate Liberation Day and the Platinum Jubilee
On Tuesday 10th May 2022, saw Their Royal Highnesses the Earl and Countess of Wessex arrive in Sark for its Liberation Day celebrations and to mark the year of the Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. This comes after the visits of Their Royal Highnesses the previous day to Jersey and Guernsey to observe the 77th Liberation Day anniversaries of both of those Islands. The Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles to be occupied by foreign forces during the World War II; Sark was occupied from June 1940 until 10th May 1945.
On Monday 9th May 2022, principal events in Jersey for Liberation Day were held in St Helier, with smaller events taking place in the individual parishes.
The Wessexes travelled from there onto Guernsey where they took part in the Liberation Tea Dance at Beau Sejour before heading to Castle Cornet. The following day the Royal couple then headed to Alderney where they were welcomed by the Lt. Governor of Guernsey, Lt. Gen. Richard Cripwell and the States of Alderney President William Tate, where they visited the Alderney Wildlife Trust in St Anne, attended a reception at the Island Hall, before touring the Nunnery at Longis, believed to be the oldest Roman building in the Channel Islands, where the Countess of Wessex officially broke ground ahead of a new archaeological dig.
Arriving then by helicopter on the Millennium Field, the 23rd Seigneur of Sark Christopher Beaumont and Sarah Beaumont, the deputy Seneschal Victoria Stamps, the Speaker of Chief Pleas Lt. Col. Reg Guille MBE and Conseiller John Guille, Sark’s ‘chief’ minister greeted the Royal Party, whilst Miss Sark Princess, Robin Scott, presented flowers to the Royal couple. Prince Edward then delivered a message from Her Majesty the Queen celebrating the Island’s liberation from German rule.
Their Royal Highnesses then ceremonially planted a tree, as part of The Queen’s Green Canopy, witnessed Sark School pupils. This unique tree planting initiative has been created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee which invites people from across the United Kingdom to ‘Plant a Tree for the Jubilee.’
Platinum Jubilee Medals were then presented to 20 members past and present of the Sark Police, Sark Fire & Rescue Services and the Sark Ambulance Service. Their Royal Highnesses were then accompanied by the Seigneur and his wife to the Toplis Room in the Island Hall, where they met with Sark residents who were liberated in Sark or from deportee camps in Germany. Their Royal Highnesses then mingled with Islanders and visitors who were still gathered on the field; these included visiting Chelsea Pensioners of The Royal Hospital, a party of Gurkha soldiers and a party of four WWII veterans. Each of the veterans are part of a charity called D-Day Revisited, whose main objective is to fund and organise pilgrimages which give veterans of the Normandy campaign an opportunity to revisit the beaches and surrounding areas where they fought and to pay tribute to the friends that they left behind in 1944.
Their Royal Highnesses were presented with a small basket of Sark produce including a bottle of the 2014 vintage Sark Sparkling wine by local school pupils Finley Southern and Henry Carré before heading back to the helicopter.
This article first appeared in the Sark Newspaper : May 13th 2022