Her Royal Highness will honour those who made the ultimate sacrifice during what Sir Winston Churchill described as ‘the worst journey in the world’. The Convoys supported the USSR, Britain’s Second World War ally, and played a critical role in securing victory over Nazism. The Princess will represent HM The Queen at commemorative events on 30-31 August in Arkhangelsk, north west Russia and will be accompanied by her husband Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence.
The Arctic Convoys
The first of the Arctic Convoys, codenamed ‘Dervish’, arrived in Arkhangelsk, Russia on 31 August 1941. Running the blockade by the German Navy and avoiding perils such as mines and U-boats the convoys were essential to the supply of the Soviet Union and played a part in supplying Leningrad (present day St Petersburg) during the siege.
Between August 1941 and May 1945, around 1,400 merchant vessels escorted by ships of the Royal Navy, Royal Canadian Navy and US Navy made the journey. 85 merchant vessels and 16 Royal Navy ships were lost during the convoys and over 3,000 British servicemen and their allies died. To this day the UK and Russia continue to honour the sacrifice of Royal Navy sailors and merchant seamen, including through the UK’s Arctic Star medal. Arctic Convoy veterans and The Band of HM Royal Marines will also participate in the commemorations.
Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal biography
HRH The Princess Royal was born on 15 August 1950 in London. She is the only daughter and second child of HM The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh. She was known as Princess Anne until she was given the title of The Princess Royal by The Queen in June 1987. The Princess Royal married Commander Timothy Laurence, now Admiral Laurence, on 12 December 1992.
Her Royal Highness is involved with over 300 charities, organisations and military regiments in the UK and overseas, and she devotes a large part of her working life to official engagements and visits.
Her Royal Highness undertook a guest of government visit to the USSR in 1990, she visited the Russian Federation in 2000 and attended the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics as a member of the International Olympic Committee, also visiting Moscow and St Petersburg.