St George’s House, set in the historic grounds of Windsor Castle, was founded in 1966 by H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh and the then Dean of Windsor, Robin Woods. It is a place where people from right across society who are in a position to make a difference might gather together to grapple with issues pertinent to our contemporary world. The House thrives on debate, discussion and dialogue as a way of nurturing wisdom which can be put to use in the wider world.
Those who come to the House work within sight of the Castle and, more closely, St George’s Chapel where three times a day, every day, prayer is offered for the nation. That tradition of prayer, established in 1348 by King Edward III, has extended for more than six hundred years. It is precisely this tradition that gives the House its impetus and its wider theological context. The offering of prayer in the Chapel finds a practical expression in consultations, where the House offers space to work towards a better world for people of all creeds and none. Diversity in its many manifestations is something we strive at all times to acknowledge and accommodate.
Our work embraces a number of strands: consultations on topics of national and international significance; our Society of Leadership Fellows, which offers comprehensive leadership training and development; clergy courses, which seek, both theologically and pragmatically, to refresh the practice and personal development of those in ministry; and hospitality for groups or organisations who, understanding the ethos and core objectives of the House, bring to us their own consultations. We also host a series of lectures. These include the St George’s House Annual Lecture, the Elson Ethics Lecture, and the Finlay Theology Lecture. Taken together our annual programme is varied, rich, and intellectually challenging.
In a world of twenty-four hour news and burgeoning social media where the headline and the soundbite dominate, opportunities to reflect deeply on difficult matters are fewer and further between. St George’s House offers just such an opportunity. We ask our guests to argue cogently, to listen carefully, and to be open always to the possibility of changing one’s mind. Time spent at the House should be enriching. We hope that people leaving the Castle grounds will do so intellectually refreshed, more deeply alert to the nuances of the topic to hand, and ready to put whatever wisdom they have acquired to full use in our society.