Blog – Denise Powell – HRH Princess Royal
There was a real buzz in the Auditorium as we awaited the arrival of our special guest, HRH The Princess Royal. After Chief Steward Hilary kept us occupied with light hearted banter, Princess Anne was finally greeted with warm applause as she took her seat to listen to our amazing panel of speakers.
When it was her turn to speak, she immediately endeared herself to the audience by thanking US for inviting her back (she was at the International Convention in Glasgow 8 years ago).
Her Highness cleverly drew out key elements from the speakers talks and then moved on to talking about Soroptimism. She reflected on Soroptimists’ reputation for fundraising, especially in times of disaster – particularly mentioning Sierra Leone in the wake of the Ebola crisis and Nepal following the earthquake. She referred to our on-the-ground presence giving us the ability to target the use of funds.
Moving on, Princess Anne drew the analogy with her own charity, Save the Children, which also works partly in times of crisis and is very much focused on education. There was a frisson in the audience as she referred to the current refugee crisis, giving us startling statistics on the number of unaccompanied children in the refugee population. She referred in warm terms to the proactivity of Soroptimists in stepping up to help, and again referred to the overlap with Save The Children.
Finally Federation President Jenny presented Her Royal Highness with a cheque for Save The Children on behalf of Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland. Princess Anne, looked surprised and delighted. We wished her a fond farewell as she left the auditorium to go for coffee – I personally felt we had very much received the royal seal of approval!