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The strength of the relationship between the United Kingdom and the Holy See

· Message of Queen Elizabeth II ·

The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester took part today, 1 December, Feast of the English Martyrs, in the commemoration of the 650th anniversary of the foundation of Venerable English College in Rome. Present the celebration were: Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Archbishop emeritus of Westminster; Archbishop Vincent Gerard Nichols of Westminster, Mons. Nicholas Hudson, Rector of the College; and British Ambassador to the Holy See, Nigel Marcus Baker. Following the Mass the Duke of Gloucester read the message sent by Queen Elizabeth II in honour of the occasion. The following is
the text of Her Majesty's message.

In 1362, English residents in Rome established a "Hospice of the English" to care for English pilgrims. The Royal Arms of King Henry IV still adorn your walls to mark the 50th anniversary of that foundation and the close relationship with the Crown. The English Hospice was the origin of what has now become the Venerable English College, following its re-foundation by Pope Gregory XIII in 1579.

The presence of The Duke of Gloucester at your Martyrs' Day Feast in this 650th anniversary year is a sign of the strength of the relationship between the United Kingdom and the Holy See. It is also recognition of the high esteem in which the Venerable English College is held as a training ground for pastors, priests and future leaders of the Catholic Church of England and Wales. You have always served as a generous and hospitable home away from home for generations of visitors to Rome, even in the most difficult times.

My good wishes go to you all, alumni, staff and students of the Venerabile, past, present and future, for your continuing prosperity.




St. Peter’s Square

Oct. 21, 2019