Duchess of Cornwall to Carry Out Engagements in East London

The Duchess of Cornwall cuts a ribbon with Jasmine Villa Hospice Chairman Chris Duggan during her visit to the Jasmine Villa Hospice as part of her tour of the Cayman Islands, 2019.


Wednesday 30th October 2019

Engagement 1

The Duchess of Cornwall will visit Mulberry School for Girls. The school plays an important part in the Women of the World (WOW) Festival of which HRH is President. Exploring the theme ‘Partnership of Equals’, The Duchess will tour the school, participate in a roundtable discussion and meet the school’s therapy dog.

The first part of the tour will include a WOW themed marketplace hosted in the school’s library. The stalls will showcase the school’s work and relationship with WOW and include a specific focus on Community Learning, Partnership of Equals and The Mulberry Schools Foundation.

Her Royal Highness will then visit English lessons and the dance studio where a performance of Swan Lake in which the gender roles are reversed will be rehearsed. The Duchess will watch a performance by Mulberry Theatre Company (inspired by Donmar’s all-female Shakespeare trilogy) which was written and performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival earlier this year before joining a round-table discussion on issues raised during the play.

The Duchess will view works in the Mulberry Art Gallery before joining students in the courtyard where they will sing a Scottish folk song, ‘Wild Mountain Thyme’ around the Mulberry Tree from which the School takes its name.

Finally, The Duchess will meet the school’s therapy dog before departing.

Mulberry School for Girls

The Duchess last visited Mulberry School for Girls in February 2013.

Mulberry School for Girls pioneers high quality education for girls and women locally, nationally and globally. The keystone of this work is developing confidence, creativity, leadership and the love of learning in Mulberry girls. Mulberry has also reached out to families – in particular, mothers – in this work, offering rich opportunities to do the same for them. (Mothers are joining the movement, writing and performing their own drama, setting up their own NGOs and insisting on their voices being heard.) The way to break cycles of poverty and worklessness is to provide through education opportunities to gain excellent qualifications, to break down barriers created through social stereotyping and prejudice, and to open up as many possibilities to build confidence as we can.

The quality of education offered at Mulberry placed the school in the top 130 selective and non-selective schools in 2018 for progress and 94% of pupils study the EBacc (The English Baccalaureate) with arts (known as Mulbacc). The arts have been a significant force in the school’s work to deliver this quality, which is why an arts GCSE is compulsory alongside the EBacc. In addition, the enriched extra-curricular education programme is designed to promote the voice and visibility of Mulberry girls and the women of the school community.

Women of the World (WOW) Festival

The Duchess of Cornwall is President of the Women of the World (WOW) Festival. Head Teacher of Mulberry School for Girls, Vanessa Ogden is a Trustee of the WOW Foundation.

WOW festivals began in the UK in 2010 and were launched by Jude Kelly at Southbank Centre London, where she was Artistic Director. They celebrate women and girls, taking a frank look at what prevents them from achieving their potential, raising awareness globally of the issues they face and discussing solutions together.

To date, WOW has reached over two million people in 17 countries on five continents across over 65 festivals – and growing – including in Australia, Brazil, China, Finland, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Somaliland, the UK and the USA. In 2018 WOW took place in Rio, Karachi, Beijing, Cardiff and Bradford, as well as London, New York, Dhaka, Pakistan Atlanta, Istanbul and China in 2019 and 2020.

Over the last nine years the Festivals have developed a reputation as a space for world renowned artists, activists, thinkers and performers including Angela Davies, Malala Yousafzai, Annie Lennox, Patrick Stewart, Baroness Doreen Lawrence and Salma Hayek, to come and participate, alongside thousands of women and girls who don’t have public profiles but are doing amazing things. WOW provides platforms for people of all kinds, changes attitudes, brings communities together and provides a unique space for people to work together towards gender equality in their own communities. One example of the impact the festival came in 2015, with the founding of the Women’s Equality Party by Sandi Toksvig and Catherine Mayer.

Mulberry School for Girls has had a deep and enduring partnership with Jude Kelly, the Women of the World Festival and now with its Foundation. Participating extensively in the first WOW festival, many of the girls were placed on panels at Jude’s invitation giving them voice and visibility in the debate about gender equality and how to achieve it. They walked with Jude, Bianca Jagger, Helena Kennedy and others in the first Women’s March, releasing doves on the bridge and speaking powerfully at the plenary afterwards.

Working with Jude, the school continues to contribute to WOW and has led the education conferences in the past as well as being involved extensively in WOW’s celebration of International Day of the Girl 2019.

Engagement 2

The Duchess of Cornwall will attend The Royal Foundation of St Katharine which hosts retreats, acts as a conference venue for charities and NGOs and provides a meeting space for women’s groups, artists and community organisations. HRH will meet staff and community groups in the Chapel, charities at St Katharine’s precinct and visit the Yurt Café- a social enterprise with price-protected items, ensuring the menu is accessible to all.

The Duchess will meet the board of The Royal Foundation of St Katharine as well as trustees upon arrival.

Her Royal Highness will first visit the chapel where she will be greeted by the performance of a community singing group and meet with staff. Here, Her Royal Highness will unveil a small plaque to mark the visit.

The Duchess will proceed to meet charity groups who use the spaces offered by St Katharine’s. Her Royal Highness will then move outdoors where she will meet a gardening group, tour the gardens and visit the precinct – an outdoor space consisting of recycled shipping containers and yurts.

Finally, the visit will conclude with a visit to the Yurt café – a social enterprise with price-protected items.

The Royal Foundation of St Katharine

Founded by Queen Matilda in 1147, The Royal Foundation of St Katharine has acted as a centre for worship, hospitality and service for over 870 years. Worship, Hospitality and Service to others in the community remain the core tenets for life at St Katharine’s.

Today the Royal Foundation of St Katharine is a Retreat House and Conference Centre providing services to others in the East End of London. As a retreat house St Katharine’s has a calm welcoming environment where visitors can get away from the busyness of life and restore their spiritual and emotional wellbeing. St Katharine’s also welcomes Faith Groups, Charities and Not for Profit organisations to hold conference and events in London at accessible prices. At St Katharine’s Precinct, the Foundation serves the community with hospitality at The Yurt Café and facilitates a range of community activity groups.

Charity and Not for Profit organisations holding events at St Katharine’s

Tower Hamlets Mental Health Liaison and Psychological Medicine Service – East London NHS Trust

Providing mental health crisis services throughout Tower Hamlets – ‘We care, we respect and we are inclusive.’ Rated outstanding by the Quality Care Commission.

Aston Mansfield – Creating Stronger Communities

Aston Mansfield is a locally rooted organisation that wants to see more young people and families in Newham and East London leading happy and healthy lives, realising their potential and unlocking their ambition.

Community Groups

St Katharine’s Community Gardening Group

Led by Stephen Sheil with core members Julie, Lavender, Hannah and Stuart, the community gardening group grow fresh produce which is served at The Yurt Café. They lead gardening education and activity days for children and adults throughout the year plus maintain and manage the grounds and Wild Flower banks of St Katharine’s Precinct.

Tower Project & St Katharine’s – Job Enterprise Training Interns

The Tower Project is a community based voluntary sector organization and service provider for children and adults with learning disability, sensory disability, autism, physical disability of health related issues. Jamie Crouch, Training Team Manager, works closely with St Katharine’s which accepts and trains four 17 year old interns each year. The interns have previously only experienced life in protected environments. St Katharine’s exposes the young people to the realities of working life at a supportive and caring pace where they are able to adjust and thrive.

St Katharine’s Community Singing Group

Led by Ugne Audzeviciute, a staff member at St Katharine’s, the group meets on a Wednesday evening to celebrate the joys of communal singing. Three members of the group have dedicated time to provide background accompaniment during the visit to St Katharine’s Chapel.

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