Release date: 3 October 2018
West Sussex County Council was thrilled to host Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on their special visit to Edes House in Chichester this morning, Wednesday 3 October 2018.
The royal couple arrived in West Street at 10.45am, where they were officially welcomed to Sussex by Mrs Susan Pyper, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex and Councillor Martyn Bell, Mayor of Chichester.
The Duke and Duchess then conducted a short walkabout along West Street taking time to chat with the large crowds of local residents and school children.
On arriving at the entrance to Edes House, the Duke and Duchess were greeted by Mrs Caroline Nicholls, High Sheriff of West Sussex; Mr Lionel Barnard, Chairman of West Sussex County Council; Councillor Elizabeth Hamilton, Chairman of Chichester District Council; Chief Constable Giles York QPM, Sussex Police; and Mr Harry Goring, Vice-Lord-Lieutenant of West Sussex.
Inside Edes House, the royal couple were shown the rare copy of the American Declaration of Independence – one of only two contemporary ceremonial parchment manuscript copies in existence.
County Archivist Wendy Walker said: “It was a real privilege to meet the couple and to be able to show them this fascinating and very rare document. I explained how it was discovered and the work we have been undertaking for the last two years with Harvard University, the Library of Congress and the British Library. They both showed great interest in the Declaration and the American connection with the Duchess made it extra special.”
Their Royal Highnesses then signed the Edes House visitors’ book before being given a facsimile copy of the Declaration, along with two books published by West Sussex County Council: Roots of America edited by Kim C Leslie and Military Voices: West Sussex Veterans in the 20th Century.
The royal couple waved goodbye to county council staff and members of the public gathered in front of County Hall before departing for Bognor Regis to officially open the University of Chichester’s Engineering and Digital Technology Park.
County Council Chairman Lionel Barnard added: “It was an honour to meet the Duke and Duchess today and wonderful to see them interacting so well with the large crowds who came to Chichester to warmly welcome them. I hope the Duke and Duchess enjoyed their visit as much as we did and hope they will both be back to see more of our vibrant county soon.”
The Sussex Declaration, as it has become known, has now been returned to the West Sussex Record Office where it has been stored since 1956.