The Princess Royal is the Patron of the Townswomen’s Guilds. The first Guild was formed in Hayward’s Heath in 1929. There are now about 550 such Guilds with 20,000 members. Their home page summarises their goals to be:
TG provides the opportunity for women everywhere to find support, encouragement, friendship and fun!
It was born out of the Women’s Suffrage movement. Suffrage for women on an equal footing to men finally came in the UK by Act of Parliament in 1928. The Guilds then continued to campaign by peaceful means for other equal rights for women and to support one another in the ancient tradition of guilds.
Every year, the Guilds hold three carol services, one in the North, one in the Southeast and one in the West. Hereford Cathedral agreed to host the one in the West this year and The Princess Royal, their Patron, joined them and read a lesson. The Academia Musica Choir led the congregation and performed a number of musical pieces suitable to the season mixing traditional with lesser known but lovely works. The Dean of Hereford gave the address.
It was an honour and a pleasure for Herefordshire to welcome the Princess Royal and a Cathedral full of folk from all over the region. Here are some pictures.