The British Commandery Anniversary Event took place in London over the weekend of 14th / 15th June. Knights and Dames were joined by the Deputy Grand Master, HIRH Archduke Georg, and the Procurator, Baron Vinzenz von Stimpfl-Abele, as well as the Vice-Chancellor, Peter Harold, and the Secretary General of the Dames, Baroness Gabriela von Stimpfl-Abele.
The programme started on the Friday evening with a visit to the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition at The British Library which marks the 500th anniversary of Leonardo’s death. This was followed by a Drinks Reception for Knights and Dames at The Reform Club on Pall Mall. On Saturday morning Knights and Dames travelled by boat to Greenwich where they were welcomed to The Old Royal Naval College by Tony Hales CBE, Chairman of Greenwich Foundation. They then received a guided tour of The Painted Hall and the Chapel at The Old Royal Naval College.
An intensive and highly varied programme awaited the participants afterwards as well: A meeting with the Deputy Grand Master took place in the afternoon followed by a tour of St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church, led by knight of the Order, The Reverend Dr Sam Wells . The Gala Dinner took place on the Saturday night in The Crypt of St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church. The Protector, Lord Watson of Richmond, also attended the dinner.
Christian Ortner, Director General of the Museum of Military History in Vienna, gave a fascinating presentation called “The Sleepwalkers: 1918/1919 – decisive years for Europe” which provided new insights into modern European history. On the other hand, the dinner speech of the Procurator Stimpfl-Abele revolved around the political present. Even today, one could not help feeling that sleepwalkers were active in politics, the Procurator emphasised, referring in this context to developments and events surrounding Brexit. The Order must and will increasingly speak out with wake-up calls in such areas that are relevant for Europe.