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The Queen’s Birthday Party 2015 in Sofia

The annual celebration, held on 10 June 2015, marked 800 years since the sealing of the Magna Carta.

Her Majesty's Ambassador Emma Hopkins OBE
Her Majesty's Ambassador Emma Hopkins OBE addresses the guests

The Queen’s Birthday Party 2015 in Bulgaria took place on 10 June. The event is part of the Embassy’s Magna Carta campaign that is running throughout 2015.

On the occasion, Her Majesty’s Ambassador Emma Hopkins OBE said:

On behalf of my husband, Steven and our children, Lara and Mia, it is a great pleasure to welcome you to our home for the Queen’s Birthday Party – which is our first. Thank you for coming and sharing this special occasion with us. We really value our joint work over the past year and look forward to continuing this together in the future.

I am very excited to be here in Bulgaria. The welcome I have received has been wonderful whether on the street, in meetings or over social media. Everyone has been so friendly. So, I stand here with a sense of excitement, not only to discover this wonderful country but also to meet new people and to deepen the friendship between our two countries.

But – and you will have noticed the theme of our event this year. We are also celebrating 800 years of Magna Carta. As a former-barrister I have seen first-hand the legacy of Magna Carta in the UK.

I trained as a barrister and the Magna Carta was one of the first things we were taught about. But you don’t have to be trained in law to understand the significance of Magna Carta. At its core it is about ensuring that no one is above the law – so that the law works for everyone not just the powerful or the connected. This is a simple idea and one has shaped our understanding of democracy and responsible governance. In a year when sweeping judicial reforms have been proposed here in Bulgaria, I can see that the message of Magna Carta continues to be heard. And we will support these efforts. Please enjoy the exhibition around the garden. As well as high legal principle the Magna Carta also contained some more unusual elements including stipulating which width cloth could be used to make monk’s robes.

Next week we are hosting an exhibition in Parliament on the Magna Carta – which will be on display for 2 weeks. I hope some of you will be able to attend.

Beyond this – I am very pleased that Foreign Minister Mitov will shortly travel to the UK to meet the Foreign Secretary. As world events continue to cause concern, they will have plenty to discuss: from the continued Russian aggression in Ukraine; to the worsening situation in Syria and Libya; to the threat of ISIL; and, in response to these challenges, the importance of getting the best possible response from a reformed European Union working for the benefit of all its citizens. These discussions demonstrate the depth and importance of our friendship. I hope that many Bulgarian Ministers will enjoy British hospitality in the coming year and that my Ministers will visit here.

Finally, it has been another impressive year for British/Bulgarian business links. Our bilateral trade continues to grow in 2014. And I would like to thank our sponsors here today:

  • WYG – an impressive, growing firm, specialising in project management and engineering consultancy;
  • JCB – an iconic UK construction equipment manufacturer, globally recognised for cutting edge innovation and high quality engineering facilities;
  • Deloitte Bulgaria – a shining example of two of the UK’s great strengths, its professional services and financial sectors;
  • Provident Financial Bulgaria – a respected and ethical lender which puts the a focus on financial education;
  • CertAsig – a growing firm, providing first class insurance and reinsurance services;
  • M-tel – the first mobile telecommunications operator in Bulgaria, who also provides the Embassy with all of our mobile equipment and are our local partner.

Let us, then, celebrate the partnerships and cooperation across areas of reform, foreign policy and business. And let us too celebrate the legacy of Magna Carta.

Published 11 June 2015