With last week's AGM, Lord Luce officially stepped down as President of the Royal Over-Seas League. Read his farewell message to members and staff. 

I have had the privilege of serving as President of the Royal Over-Seas League for 18 years.

It is now time to hang up my hat.

My wife Rose and I have enjoyed every moment of our time with the League.  It is a unique institution with a special range of activities and cultural involvement stemming from the height of our Empire in 1910 to today’s modern Commonwealth of equal nations.  Today we are London’s social centre for Commonwealth countries.

I feel very proud of all that the League has achieved and I am grateful for the leadership shown over the years by successive Chairmen and Director-Generals.  Because of its wide range of activities and objectives it is not always easy to lead but dedicated members of the Council have given great support.

Above all I want to thank members and the staff.  Our founder, Sir Evelyn Wrench, insisted that the heart of the League must be the commitment of the members.  We still have to reach his ambition of a million members from the Commonwealth!  It is our membership that has made the League as it is today.  And I thank you all.

But all of us members must ask the question ‘Where would we be without the staff?’  There would be no League without them.   Over the last four years Rose and I have been able to stay at the League to enable me to carry out each week my obligations in the House of lords.  We both have nothing but praise for the staff ranging from marketing, membership and finance to maintenance, housekeeping, receptionists, porters and catering.  We have much appreciated the sheer friendliness, cheerfulness and commitment to hard work of all of you and I am extremely grateful.  We will look forward to staying at the League from time to time in the future. 

We are privileged to have The Queen as our Patron and all of us are deeply grateful for the sheer sustained commitment to the League of our Vice Patron, Princess Alexandra. 

It is a great comfort to me that Lord Geidt is to succeed me as President.  He has served The Queen with great distinction and we are lucky to have him.

I am grateful to Alexander Downer for serving as Chairman of the League and to Diana Owen as the retiring Director-General. 

I send all members and staff my warmest thanks and good wishes for the future.

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