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The Queen’s Birthday Party 2014 in Sofia
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Spectacular Queen’s Birthday Party, tied to the 100 Years celebrations marking the centenary of the British Ambassador’s Residence in Sofia, was held on 12 June 2014.
The Queen’s Birthday Party 2014 was the culmination of the 100 Years celebrations, which mark the centenary of the completion of the British Ambassador’s Residence in Sofia. Ambassador Jonathan Allen and Christine Day, daughter of Sir William Harpham, the first British Ambassador to Bulgaria (1964-1966), unveiled a photograph of the ceremony in which Sir William Harpham presented his credentials. The photograph will be kept and hung on the wall of the Residence in the future.
On the occasion, HMA Jonathan Allen said:
On behalf of my wife, Liz and our children, Lucy and Benedict, it is a great pleasure to welcome you today to our home for this, our third Queen’s Birthday Party.
It has been an eventful year since the last one! We have seen protests and political conflict. There have been tensions over the removal of controls on Bulgarians’ right to work in the UK, and in particular over the media debate on this issue. The situation in Ukraine has required each of us to understand the other’s position and to remember the core values we believe in as democracies, in the face of new aggression in Europe.
There have also been many positives! In the past year, we have had the honour to receive two royal visits. The Queen’s son, HRH Prince Edward and his wife Sophie visited last year to support children’s issues and launched The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award for young people. The Queen’s cousin, HRH The Duke of Kent, stood side-by-side with President Plevneliev as we marked together 100 years since the beginning of the First World War.
The President also visited the UK, with a large business delegation, and had a meeting with Her Majesty The Queen. We have launched a blog – 100 Years UK in BG – for British people to write about their memories and positive experiences of Bulgaria.
On a personal note, our son, Benedict was born in Sofia in November, which strengthens the strong feeling we have as a family that Bulgaria is a second home for us.
This has also been a good year for British-Bulgarian business links. Our trade increased by almost 30% in 2013. I would like to thank our sponsors here today:
This year we celebrate 135 years of diplomatic relations between our countries and 100 years since the completion of this fine building, the British Ambassador’s Residence in Sofia. This house symbolises the British presence in Bulgaria. We have been here for 100 years; we will be here at least 100 more! This house is built to last. It is a strong, permanent presence. And so too the relationship between the UK and Bulgaria is strong and permanent.
Through that long-term perspective, we can see that every year has its ups and its downs. But true friendship endures through bad times as well as good. I have great confidence in our friendship!