Her Majesty the Queen, and Prince Philip Visit Salisbury
May 1st 2012: this was the day when Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace
of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of Her other
Realms and Territories, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, came
to visit Salisbury.
It was Her Majesty's first visit to this world-famous, historical
city since 1974; as such, a great many attractions had been prepared beforehand for
Her Majesty's enjoyment and there were of course numerous dignitaries there to greet
her. These events run to a very strict timetable, but nonetheless, when she learned
of who we were, Her Majesty chose to speak with and publicly shake the hand of Frank
Somers of the Amesbury and Stonehenge Druids. This was of course an immense, unsurpassed
honour for Frank personally and for all the others in the Aes Dana Grove, while it
is simply impossible to imagine a more generous-spirited act of recognition on the
part of a much-loved lady who is also by far and away the world's most revered Head
The Druid faith has come a very long way in just two years since winning
legal status as a religion in 2010, but who would have imagined that the Head of
the Anglican church and one of the most respected and loved world leaders, the Queen,
would make a Druid feel so welcome, or acknowledge us all so shortly afterwards?
we would not have been there to greet Her Majesty before the eyes of the world, in
the splendid setting of Salisbury Cathedral and the Cathedral Close, had it not been
for the warmth and big hearts of the people of Amesbury. We first approached them
a year ago to ask how we might be of service to them and to see if we could work
together. They had the kindliness and foresight to realise that such a unique arrangement
could indeed be of mutual benefit, and so there ensued a journey of discovery through
which each community has forged a respect and friendship for the other.
We fully recognise
that on the occasion of a royal visit, when its people were presenting what they
felt was the very best that the town had to offer, the community of Amesbury could
have easily opted for the safer path of keeping us "out of sight and out of mind".
Instead, they chose to include their Druids; Her Majesty, in her turn, chose to acknowledge
our presence, to engage us in conversation and to publicly shake the hand of Frank
Somers. So, if the matter were in any doubt, we will repeat that Amesbury is a wonderful
place, brimming with history and full of a potential that we hope to realise to its
fullest extent. It nestles by the River Avon, surrounded by the glorious countryside
of Salisbury Plain and its enchanting ancient temples, but its greatest source of
beauty is without doubt its people.
Above, Her Majesty The Queen in conversation with Druid Frank Somers and Bard John
Corin, both of the Amesbury and Stonehenge Druids, shortly after Her Majesty offered
her hand for Frank to shake. The Queen is escorted by Mayor Andy Rhind-Tutt and organiser
This is a photograph of Amesbury 2012 mosaic, which delighted the Queen when it was
shown to her. More about the mosaic created by JoannaDewfall which involved the
whole community to follow...
saic to follow...
Above: Mayoress Rebecca Rhind-Tutt photographs Bex, Bard John Corin and the Amesbury
tent, which was situated in a magnificent prime position before the great west entrance
of Salisbury Cathedral.
Inside the tent with some of the wonder of Historic Amesbury on display. While she
was inside, the Queen took a particular interest in the the mediaeval bell and in
the intriguing range of Mesolithic flints that were recently discovered at nearby
Vespasian's Camp (see elsewhere on this site for more details of this incredible
History should remember all of the team involved in presenting Amesbury at her best:
Rebecca Rhind Tutt
Wendy and Veronica
Norman, Sue and David
All of you can be so proud.
It is an honour to be a part of your great community.
Right: Her Majesty spoke at length with Andy Rawlings about the Solstice Lantern
and his attempts to replicate ancient metalworking techniques.