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Royal visit HRH The Prince of Wales to visit Durham Cathedral and Durham University

05 February 2018

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales will officially open a new visitor experience, honour a local ancestor and a local regiment and witness a 350-strong performance of the popular hymn Jerusalem during a visit to Durham Cathedral and Durham University next week (Thursday 15 February).

During a visit to Durham City Prince Charles will officially open Open Treasure, a new world-class visitor experience at Durham Cathedral and unveil a commemorative plaque honouring his ancestor Dame Elizabeth Bowes at St John’s College, Durham University.

The Prince will then attend a Durham Cathedral concert honouring Sir Hubert Parry, a 19th and 20th century English composer whose music he has long admired, which will close with a rendition of Jerusalem, Sir Hubert’s most famous work.

Finally, His Royal Highness will visit the Durham Light Infantry (DLI) Collection Gallery, at Durham University’s Palace Green Library, a partnership between Durham County Council, the DLI Trustees and Durham University.

His Royal Highness will also meet University staff and students, Cathedral staff, volunteers and choristers, dignitaries and supporters of both organisations.

The Prince’s visit will begin at The Church of St Mary the Less, the chapel of St John’s College, Durham University. There he will inspect the memorial stone of Dame Elizabeth Bowes (1651-1736), who lived in Durham and is an ancestor of His Royal Highness through Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, his grandmother.

His Royal Highness will unveil a commemorative plaque in honour of Dame Elizabeth at Bowes House, her former family home, which is now part of St John’s College.

The Prince will then visit Open Treasure, touring the exhibition experience before unveiling a plaque to declare it officially open.

His Royal Highness will then attend a major concert in Durham Cathedral, honouring the centenary of the death of Sir Hubert Parry (1848-1918).

Introduced by Sir Thomas Allen, the world-renowned opera singer and Chancellor of Durham University, the concert will feature the Durham University Orchestral Society, the Durham University Choral Society, the University Chamber Choir, the Choristers of Durham Cathedral, the Durham County Youth Choir and Sir Thomas himself.

The concert will be attended by 350 guests, who will all be invited to join in the singing of Jerusalem at the close.

Afterwards, His Royal Highness will renew his acquaintance with Professor Jeremy Dibble, Professor of Music at Durham University and a world-leading authority on Sir Hubert Parry.

Professor Dibble assisted His Royal Highness on a BBC documentary presented by the Prince entitled The Prince and the Composer, which explored Sir Hubert’s life.

The concert will be a preview of the Hubert Parry 100th Anniversary Concert, to be held in Durham Cathedral on Saturday 10 March.

After meeting performers, His Royal Highness will greet members of the public on Palace Green, where he will be entertained by The County Durham Cadet Band and Bugles. Members of the public wishing to see The Prince are invited to gather at Palace Green where His Royal Highness is expected at around 1pm.

Finally, the Prince will visit The DLI Collection Gallery at Durham University’s Palace Green Library. His Royal Highness will tour the Courage, Comrades and Community exhibition, which tells the history of the regiment through the stories of the soldiers who made it.

The Very Reverend Andrew Tremlett, Dean of Durham, said: “Open Treasure, located in the most intact set of medieval monastic buildings in the UK, has transformed how we tell the story of Durham Cathedral to visitors. 

“We are thrilled that Prince Charles is officially opening it and look forward to welcoming him to the Cathedral.”

Professor Stuart Corbridge, Vice-Chancellor and Warden of Durham University, said: “We are very excited to be welcoming Prince Charles to Durham University and providing him an opportunity both to further enjoy the work of Sir Hubert Parry and to renew his friendship with our own Professor Jeremy Dibble.

“The large-scale rendition of Jerusalem is a spectacle we are looking forward to greatly.”

The Reverend Professor David Wilkinson, Principal of St John’s College, said: “It will be a great pleasure to welcome Prince Charles to St John’s College.

“We are privileged that he is taking the time to honour the life and work of his ancestor Dame Elizabeth Bowes. His visit will be a proud day in the history of St John’s College.”

The Prince’s visit further strengthens his long-standing connections with Durham Cathedral, Durham University, County Durham and North East England.

His Royal Highness received an Honorary Doctorate of Civil Law from Durham University in 1998. The Prince of Wales last visited County Durham in 2012 and Sunderland in 2015.