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Duke and Duchess visit Coventry Cathedral

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were welcomed to Coventry this morning by crowds of people in the Cathedral Ruins. The Royal couple began their visit to the city with a tour of Coventry Cathedral, before opening the new Science and Health Building at Coventry University and then ending their day at the Positive Youth Foundation.

On arrival their Royal Highnesses chatted to well-wishers and schoolchildren gathered in the grounds of the Ruins before convening at the altar to hear Canon Sarah Hills tell the story of the destruction of the Cathedral in the 1940 Blitz. They then made their way inside the new Cathedral to join a small congregation of Cathedral & Diocesan staff members to hear more about the Cathedral’s Reconciliation Ministry and the Community of the Cross of Nails.  Bishop Christopher led the congregation in Coventry's famous Litany of Reconciliation.

Next, the Duke and Duchess met members of the Cathedral choir and saw an oil painting by Fred Roe of George VI in the ruins. Their Royal Highnesses ended their time at Coventry Cathedral at Rising Cafe, a social enterprise cafe run by independent Christian charity, Betel. The Duke and Duchess talked to some of the cafe workers, who with the support of Betel have recovered from substance addiction and homelessness.

Canon David Stone led the Royal couple around the Cathedral. He says:

"78 years ago, King George VI came to the Ruins of Coventry Cathedral within days of the bombing in order to express his solidarity with the people of Coventry. His action underlines our Cathedral and city’s links with the monarchy in the past. Her Majesty The Queen laid the foundation stone of the new Cathedral in 1956, attended the consecration in 1962, and has returned on a number of occasions since. Her actions underline our Cathedral and city’s links with the monarchy in the present. And then today The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge began their historic visit by following in the Duke’s great grandfather’s footsteps in the Ruins and then going on to see something of the life and work of the new Cathedral. Their actions underline our Cathedral and city’s links with the monarchy for the future. It was an enormous privilege and pleasure to welcome the royal couple here. Their genuine interest in what the Cathedral stands for was enormously encouraging and their friendly willingness to engage so personally with the many members of the public they met brought a real sense joy to thousands of people. It has been a day to celebrate and to remember – for which thanks be to God!"