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18th November 2023, 16:52

Princess Royal impressed by growth of literary festival over past nine editions

Published by GBC News

The Princess Royal has described the growth of the literary festival over the past nine editions as impressive.

She was in Gibraltar as Patron of the Literary Festival, a role she took on in 2016, but which she said, had been interrupted by Covid restrictions.

It was a smoother departure than it had been an arrival when the Princess Royal was unable to land on the Rock because of fog.

On the Rock for under 24 hours, Princess Anne, accompanied by her husband, Sir Timothy Laurence however managed to cram in a number of engagements.

Ahead of her departure on Saturday morning, she met the staff at the Citizens Advice Bureau, of which she is Patron.

Plaques were unveiled at the newly refurbished premises of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment Association and the new Bassadone Motors showroom and workshop.

First here in 1954 as a young girl, she did not have to face the trials and tribulations of North Front, it was then smooth sailing on the Royal Yacht Britannia.

The top level diplomacy around the Princess Royal's visit would undoubtedly make for a good book.

There is certainly a story to be told. Perhaps it's not what we've witnessed during the visit but Friday's behind the scenes negotiations, in trying to get a Royal, albeit not in an official capacity, to land in Spain and cross into Gibraltar via the land frontier that would make for a good talk at a future Literary Festival.

The Princess Royal is billed as one of the hardest working Royals and so cramming engagements into a day is nothing new for her.  Having arrived on the Rock yesterday evening after her flight was diverted to Malaga, she nevertheless managed to make the Gibunco Gibraltar International Festival opening dinner.  Princess Anne has been the festival's patron since 2016 but Covid restrictions interrupted a visit sooner.

On Saturday morning, ahead of her departure she managed to fulfil her schedule.

She was accompanied throughout by the Governor, Sir David Steel.

On Saturday morning, as Patron of the Citizens Advice Bureau she met staff at their offices, where she was welcomed by Minister for Equality, Employment, Culture and Tourism, Christian Santos.

The Princess Royal then visited the premises of the Royal Gibraltar Regiment Association following a recent refurbishment and unveiled a plaque to commemorate the event.

Princess Anne then went on to unveil a plaque at the new Bassadone Motors showroom and workshop.

Before leaving the Chief Minister's children, Sebastian, Oliver and Valentina, presented her with a gift on behalf of the People of Gibraltar. The solid silver set of the Keys of Gibraltar is identical to that presented to the Earl and Countess of Wessex (now The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh) at the end of their visit in 2022.

The Princess Royal was accompanied to her departing flight by the Governor, Sir David Steel, and the Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo.