Princess Anne delivers message of love

Princess Anne
HRH The Princess Royal addresses the General Assembly

Terrorism must not be allowed to create disunity and “destroy the message of love”,” HRH The Princess Royal has said.

The Queen’s only daughter has praised the “generosity” of the General Assembly for allowing a Muslim to address it two days after the Manchester terrorist attack.

Princess Anne said His Royal Highness Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad of Jordan was “brave” to stand up in front of around 730 people on Wednesday.

Terrorist Salman Abedi detonated a bomb at Manchester Arena after an Ariana Grande concert on Monday, killing 22 people and injuring 120 people.

Laura MacIntyre, 15, from Barra, suffered serious injuries in the blast which killed her friend Eilidh MacLeod, 14.

Love

The theme of the General Assembly this year is “Word of Life”.

Princess Anne said the Word of Life, for her, was love – a quality that is the “driving force” of the Church of Scotland.

“He (Prince Ghazi) had a slightly unenviable situation having agreed some time ago to be invited to address the Assembly," she added.

“It turned out to be only two days after those awful events in Manchester.

“I think it was both generous of you and brave of him to continue that discussion and I hope he added to your perspective on that depressing event.

“And we can take something from that, working together to reach an understanding that will make those events less likely in the future.”

Princess Anne, who served as Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly, acknowledged that it would be a “long and hard road” to achieve that goal.

“We must ensure what was designed to bring about disunity through that event in our nation does not destroy the fundamental message of love which Prince Ghazi has spoken of and one we all share,” she added.

Princess Anne told commissioners that it had been a pleasure to listen to the General Assembly debates throughout the week and admitted it was a “little intimidating because the standards are very high.”

“You are committed to serve but I hope you come here because it strengthens you,” Princess Anne told commissioners who gathered in Edinburgh from across the UK and overseas.

“You are widely scattered but this week is an opportunity to be encouraged and inspired by what you do, what others do and the example they set.”

Strong

Princess Anne said commissioners “listen with respect” to all subjects brought forward for discussion.

“It is a great tradition of your Church that allows you to live better with your differences,” she added.

“But you have much more that holds you together and that is what makes you strong.”

Princess Anne visited churches and associated projects in Aberdeenshire, Argyll, Dumfries and Galloway and Edinburgh throughout the week.

She praised the work of prison chaplains at HMP Grampian in Peterhead and said she hoped the service would be strengthened by new recruits.

Princess Anne said it was “key” to enable inmates to change the way they see life.

She named a new ship launched by the charity Vine Trust, established by former Moderator Very Rev Albert Bogle, at Rosyth Shipyard.

Princess Anne also visited Simpson House, a counselling service in Edinburgh for people with addictions run by the Kirk’s social care arm, CrossReach.