Duke of Gloucester on hand as new citizens swear allegiance
NEW citizens received a royal welcome on July 1 as HRH The Duke of Gloucester was guest of honour at a citizenship ceremony.
Maria Versteeg, from Gerrards Cross, was one of 19 people honoured at an event which saw new British citizens swear allegiance to Queen and country.
The ceremony, held to mark the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, was held at Taplow Court, the former Victorian stately home.
The Duke presented the new citizens with their naturalisation certificates.
Lord Lieutenant Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher and High Sheriff Francesca Skelton, were hosts at the ceremony.
The Joyful Divas, the choir of the Buckinghamshire Federation of WIs, lead singing of the national anthem during the ceremony and sang popular numbers before and after.
The new citizens, who have made their homes in Buckinghamshire, also received a reproduction of the Magna Carta, signed by King John in 1215 at Runnymede, on the banks of the Thames ten miles downstream from Taplow.
Ms Versteeg, who moved to Gerrards Cross from the Netherlands 18 years ago, said she was proud and privileged to become a British citizen.
She said: “I have experienced full acceptance, tolerance and kindness from members of my community and in the workplace.”
She added: “I’m honoured to live in a country where the value of freedom and rights have been in place for the last 800 years and continue to be at the forefront of all decisionmaking.
“It truly makes me feel
ROYAL WELCOME: The Duke of Gloucester meets Bill Chapple, chairman of the Bucks CC, at Taplow Court fully included and is typical of the thoughtfulness that I have experienced in the 18 years I have been living and working here.”
Martin Phillips, Buckinghamshire County Council cabinet member for community engagement and public health, said: “We’re delighted to welcome new residents from such a wide range of nationalities and cultures who will enrich our community life in Buckinghamshire.”