Here’s summary on The Earl & Countess of Wessex’s final day of their Baltic Tour. Today, TRHs arrived to Lithuania not only to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the re-establishment of the State of Lithuania, but also to commemorate more than a century lasting relations between the United Kingdom and Lithuania.
After arrival at the airport and welcome ceremony by dignitaries, The Earl & Countess went to the Presidential Palace in Vilnius, where Their Royal Highnesses were officially welcomed by President Dalia Grybauskaitė – Lithuanian politician serving as the fifth and current President of Lithuania since 2009.
She is the first woman to hold the position and became in 2014 the first President of Lithuania to be reelected for a second consecutive term. She was Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Finance, also European Commissioner for Financial Programming and the Budget from 2004 to 2009. She is often referred to as the “Iron Lady” or the “Steel Magnolia”. Press release is here.
Afterwards, TRHs visited Vilnius University, where The Earl and Countess were given a tour of the library. In the beautiful Hall of Pranciškus Smuglevičius at the Vilnius University Library, The Earl and Countess were shown historic items in the collection. Founded in 1570, the library is the oldest in Lithuania and is home to 5.4 million documents.
During the visit at the Vilnius University, a book by Geoffrey Chaucer was presented to the Vilnius University Library (Royal Family on Twitter didn’t specify who offered this gift). Chaucer was the first British author to mention Lithuania, in the C14th. Today, cultural and literary cooperation between the UK and Lithuania is continuously growing.
Vilnius University is the oldest university in the Baltic states and one of the oldest in Northern Europe. It is the largest university in Lithuania. The university was founded in 1579 as the Jesuit Academy (College) of Vilnius by Grand Duke of Lithuania and King of Poland, Stephen Báthory. It was the third oldest university (after the Cracow Academy and the Albertina) in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
Then, there were solo engagaments for TRHs. The Earl of Wessex as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation attended a Lunch and Reception at the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania, for young people who have reached the Gold Standard in the Award.
HRH celebrated the achievements of the scheme in Lithuania by presenting five gold awards – the highest standard, which The Earl achieved himself in 1986. The scheme was established in Lithuania in 2006 when The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh – who founded @DofE in 1956 – visited the country. The award scheme has been in Lithuania for over a decade, with over 750 participants having developed leadership, skills and confidence along the way.
Meanwhile the Countess of Wessex attended a lunch at Stikliai Restaurant with 6 successful Lithuanian business women. HRH is a patron to a number of charities and organisations, including 100WF initiative, supporting empowerment of women at every stage of their careers.
Then TRHs visited Antakalnis Cemetery, where The Earl & Countess honoured the memory of Lithuania’s Freedom Fighters of 1991. The Baltic states, including Lithuania, were forcibly annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940. The Lithuanian Republic declared independence from the Soviet Union on 11 March 1990, and thereafter underwent a difficult period of emergence.
The January Events took place in Lithuania between 11 and 13 January 1991 in the aftermath of the Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania. As a result of Soviet military actions, 14 civilians were killed and 702 were injured. The events were centered in its capital, Vilnius, along with related actions in its suburbs and in the cities of Alytus, Šiauliai, Varėna, and Kaunas.
Also, a wreath was laid by Officers of the Guard of Honour in remembrance of those who died in the fight for Lithuanian Independence. The Lithuanian Wars of Independence, refer to three wars Lithuania fought defending its independence at the end of World War I: with Bolshevik forces (December 1918 – August 1919), Bermontians (June 1919 – December 1919), and Poland (August 1920 – November 1920). The wars delayed international recognition of independent Lithuania and the formation of civil institutions.
Then, The Earl & Countess attended a Reception at the British Embassy Vilnius, it was a celebration of the historic links between the UK and Lithuania at an exhibition hosted at the British Embassy: “SUKurti tiLTai: Jungtinės Karalystės ir Lietuvos Respublikos ryšiai 1918-1940” (Bridges Created: Relations between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Lithuania in 1918-1940). Exhibition was officially opened by TRHs and Linas Linkevicius – Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Today’s visit ended with a Dinner at the Presidential Palace, hosted by the President of Lithuania.
Outfit & jewellery:
Max Mara Biavo belted camel hair midi dress.
New UFO earrings.
Maison Birks maple pendant.
UFO pearl bracelet.
Clutch bag by Sophie Habsburg Design.
Watch by Chanel.
Prada suede boots.