His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh and St George’s House
St George’s House first opened its doors in 1966. The Duke of Edinburgh and the Dean of Windsor at the time, the Right Reverend Robin Woods, identified the need for a place where leaders in society might gather privately to grapple with issues of national and international importance. It was a time of rapid social and cultural change. Advances in science and technology were opening up new challenges and opportunities. St George’s House was a facility where closer communication might be forged between leaders from the professions, commerce, industry, the Trade Unions, the Civil Service and the Church.
An appeal was organised with the support of the Duke of Edinburgh and on 23rd October 1966 Her Majesty The Queen formally opened St George’s House.
Since then the House has organised an annual programme of social and ethical consultations as well as a discrete clergy programme. The range of topics covered remains eclectic while participants are drawn from a broad cross-section of society. In 1978, the first St George’s House Annual Lecture took place. Since then, distinguished speakers have addressed a variety of topics, some of which drew on consultation themes while others provided the inspiration for consultations.
As in 1966, St George’s House today provides a safe physical and intellectual space where people who are prepared to make a difference in society come together to nurture wisdom. The House is a place which thrives on cogent argument and careful listening, a place where dialogue is pre-eminent.
The Duke was steadfast in his support for St George’s House throughout his life. His interest in the work of the House remained undiminished. He sat as a trustee on the Council, attending meetings regularly and was as often as possible a welcome presence at the Annual Lecture.
St George’s House in the 21st century remains faithful to the original founding vision to which His Royal Highness was so committed. May he rest in peace.
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