We were delighted to welcome HRH The Duke of Gloucester to Kent on 8 March where he was welcomed at venues in Dover and Deal.

His Royal Highness began the day at Richborough Roman Fort in Sandwich, an English Heritage Site. Richborough is the most symbolically important of all Roman sites in Britain. Not only was it the site of the Roman invasion in AD 43, but it was also one of the latest places in the province to remain occupied beyond the end of the 4th century. Today, Richborough’s impressive ruins and rich collection of objects give us an exceptional insight into four centuries of life in Roman Britain. HRH had a tour of the museum and visited the main site area where he met with volunteers working on this project.

HRH then visited Eastry Post Office which has been run by Sanjai and Hillie Patel for over 20 years. The Post Office is at the heart of the small rural community of Eastry. Despite challenges over the years, Mr and Mrs Patel have overcome them and ensured that they are continuously providing a vital service for this small village in Kent.

The next venue was the Kent Mining Museum at Betteshanger Country Park. The Kent Mining Museum opened its doors in 2022 after many years of hard work, campaigning and anticipation by the ex-mining community. It aims to tell the story of the Kent coalfield-from its early beginnings to the closure of its last pit in 1989. Although based on the site of Betteshanger Colliery, the museum tells the story of the four Kent pits: Tilmanstone, Chislet, Snowdown and Betteshanger. His Royal Highness toured the Museum and met with ex-miners who are now volunteers at the museum.

His Royal Highness ended the day with a visit to Victoria Hospital in Deal, 100 years almost to the day since his own father opened the site.

The royal party had a guided tour of Elizabeth Ward and the newly-refurbished garden, followed by a short plaque-unveiling ceremony in the hospital’s therapy gym. The Duke also enjoyed a performance from a local choir and met staff, volunteers and former employees before signing the visitors’ book, as his father had done 100 years before.

Also called the Victoria Walmer and District War Memorial Hospital, Victoria Hospital was opened in 1924, by the then Duke of Gloucester, Prince Henry, son of George V. The site provided both medical care to the people of the district and a permanent memorial to those who had given their lives in the First World War.

The hospital now provides a 22-bed inpatient ward as well as an Urgent Treatment Centre (UTC) and several outpatient clinics.

We had a fantastic day welcoming The Duke of Gloucester to Kent and we would like to thank everyone involved in making this special visit such an enjoyable day.

Photo Credits: Eastry Post Office – Jo Jones, Victoria Hospital – Jo Treharne