Saturday, 28 November 2020

Mayor meets Prince Edward in Bled

THE Mayor of Henley met Prince Edward during a visit to Bled to mark the twinning of the two towns.

THE Mayor of Henley met Prince Edward during a visit to Bled to mark the twinning of the two towns.

Stefan Gawrysiak and his partner, Mayoress Catherine Allan-Notaras, spent a day with the prince and Sophie, the Countess of Wessex.

They had lunch together at Hotel Toplice before witnessing the arrival of a procession of vintage Rolls-Royce, an annual tradition which is celebrating its centenary.

Next was a trip to Bled castle with the royals and then a function in the Slovenia capital, Ljubljana, hosted by the British embassy to mark the birthday of the Queen.

Councillor Gawrysiak said: “When Henley twinned with Bled in April, the British ambassador Andrew Page, invited us because Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex were on a tour.

“They were absolutely charming and put you at ease straight away with engaging conversation.” Prince Edward talked about his friend Urs Swazenbach, a Swiss financier who lives in Shiplake.

Cllr Gawrysiak added: “They visit Henley quite a lot. They love the river frontage and they said they really like Henley and their children visit friends in the area.”

Eighty-four vintage Rolls-Royce from the Twenties, Thirties and Forties made the trip to Bled as part of the Alpine Trail and a reception for the drivers was held at the hotel.

The party then went to Bled castle, accompanied by a police escort.

Cllr Gawrysiak said: “We went up to the top and it was absolutely stunning view of the lake. This is the only world championship rowing venue where you can see the whole of the course from one end to the other.”

A total of 2,000 guests from around the world attended the Queen’s birthday celebrations and a local ballet school performed Billy Elliot.Cllr Gawrysiak said: “We were made to feel very special.

“Catherine and I were wearing the bling — that is the mayoral chain and badge — and whenever we were walking round we were introduced to people from Poland, Nepal, Spain and Russia.” Cllr Gawrysiak added that the Mayor of Bled, Janez Fajfar, looked after them exceptionally well.

He said: “He is a wonderful, convivial host.”

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