On the morning of his marriage Her Majesty The Queen awarded Prince Harry the title Duke of Sussex. So for the 1.6 million residents of Sussex the party continues, for we have won the jackpot. For the first time since 1843, we have our very own Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
I am sure that Peter Field and Mrs Susan Piper, the Lord Lieutenants of East and West Sussex are already planning how best to welcome the new Duke and Duchess, and show them the richness of our culture, its history and the exceptional people in this county. To date I suspect Harry’s view of Sussex is confined mainly to the polo grounds of Cowdray Park.
With our numerous ancient and delightful villages and towns, the richness of so many historic buildings, and the coastline with its important and vibrant ports; this uniqueness is what makes Sussex so exceptionally special.
On Saturday we witnessed an extraordinary occasion as Prince Harry and his stunning bride stole our hearts with their obvious joy and love for each other. The service had an amazing balance of old and new, treasured tradition and uplifting but dignified modernity.
The powerful address by the Most Reverend Michael Curry got everyone’s attention with his passionate observations on ‘The Power of Love’ and ‘flashes of fire’, which stunned the congregation. Stuffy it was not, with images of his journey from the USA powered by the ‘fire’ in the jet engines of his plane.
The Kingdom Choir lifted the rafters with their rendition of ‘Stand By Me’, and the outstanding young cellist Sheu Kanneh-Mason steadied the tempo and uplifted the congregation with the beauty of his playing.
As the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex walked out of St George’s Chapel, into the glorious English sunshine, they were warmly and enthusiastically welcomed by thousands of well-wishers outside, and lining the streets of Windsor.
As the Bishop said. “Two young people fell in love and we all showed up”. We certainly did wherever we happened to be - what a gloriously happy occasion, one which embraced us all, as we embraced Harry and Megan and wish them every happiness.
Our beautiful county of Sussex is looking exceptional this spring. The countryside with its patchwork of pastures, arable crops, with winter barley now swaying gently in the breeze, and the freshly but very late sown fields of maize, spring barley, and fledgling spring beans emerging, all depicting a vibrant farming sector. Clouds of cow parsley run along the hedge rows and ditches, and blossom from a variety of trees and hedges contrast from the green.
The grass fields are populated by sheep with their growing lambs, and cattle graze contentedly, happy to be out with the warm sun on the backs.
The air is full of soaring bird song and pigeons cooing, as they go about their business of creating their own love story amongst the trees, shrubs and hedge rows.
Glorious it certainly is as the countryside transforms itself and prepares for the harvest ahead, with new life, crops to fill the barns and larders, and the national exchequer. The livestock are plentiful, and by mid-summer and autumn we can hope we will be richly rewarded with a successful harvest.
The rhododendrons and azaleas are breath taking. They have obviously benefitted from the biting cold of winter and plentiful rain this spring. The colours and heady scent bring pleasure to all travelling through villages, towns and park land.
All is peace and harmony, let us hope nothing on the political scene pops up to disrupt this tranquillity!