On Friday night, members made their way to the Tower of London for the last time, for a black tie dinner in the Fusiliers' Mess. To mark the occasion, guests were treated to a tour of the Jewel House out of hours, where the Crown Jewels are kept, and a talk from the Director of the museum.
There are just over 23,500 gemstones still used in Royal ceremonies today and when they are not in use they sit under lock and key in the Tower of London. These powerful symbols of Monarchy have been around for over 600 years. Among the collection are some of the world’s most exceptional diamonds, such as Cullinan I and Cullinan II, which are the largest top-quality diamonds in the world, and St Edwards’s Crown, which is still used in the coronations of monarchs today. It was remade in 1661 to replace the medieval crown that was melted down during the Civil War.
After the leisurely stroll, members then made their way to the Mess where they were treated to a glass of champagne and a chance to peruse the Fusiliers Museum before taking their seats for dinner; a wonderful three-course affair, four courses if we count the much welcomed bottle of port, and listened to Roddy’s speech on the history of the Fusilier’s Mess.
Whilst, the Major-General entertained and enchanted us with his stories of soldier life and the purpose of home places like the Mess provided for the bachelors, it was also rather sombre to think this would be the last time we would hear such amusing tales. It was appropriate therefore to follow his speech with a toast of our own to Roddy, before he enjoys a much deserved rest. I would personally just like to reiterate again from the staff and on behalf of the members, how much we shall miss Roddy and our best wishes for his future.
As punctual as always, one of the Tower’s yeoman collected members promptly for the Ceremony of the Keys, an sacred tradition which has without fail taken place every night for 700 years. Members watched in fascination as the guards marched through the cobbled streets by lantern light and announced that the Tower was secure for another night.
The dinner in the Tower has taken place more than ten times since Roddy took over as Director-General and it has quickly become a fast favourite amongst members. So, it is unsurprising that people have been wondering what is going to fill such a big gap in the events programme. It is with great pleasure I get to announce that a new series of dinners will be taking the Tower’s place: The Movable Feast. Bi-annually, members will have a chance to dine in some of London’s most unique and exquisite locations. From hidden historic gems, to some of the cities most iconic buildings. The location will be different each time so please do keep an eye on the website and the magazine in order to catch the announcements.