The United States Report 22/23

D. BRENTON SIMONS

Greetings. Our organization thrives and I am pleased, on behalf of the American Friends of St George’s and The Descendants of the Knights of the Garter, to present a report covering the period of September 2022 to August 2023.

In September 2022, I became interim President of the American Friends and a month later, in October 2022, I officially succeeded Kenneth Herrington as President of our organization. In December 2022, I made a visit to Windsor in order to introduce, or re-introduce, myself to officers and staff there. I met David Conner, Dean of Windsor; Canon Mark Powell; Honorary Secretary Linda Aitken, and several others. I expressed my personal gratitude to each of them as we advance our many important collaborations together.

Our year was one abuzz with activity. The best example of this was the magnificent on-line auction held last spring in support of St George’s Chapel, with bidders participating from the United Kingdom, the United States, and elsewhere. It was conceived and managed by our multi-talented First Vice-President and her husband, Eva and Roy Strasburger, of Austin, Texas. It included a wide range of gift items and cultural experiences, ranging from banners and temporary acrylic stained-glass windows deaccessioned from St George’s Chapel, to experiences such as private tours, vacation opportunities, and fine dining on both sides of the Atlantic. Between the hard work of the Strasburgers, generous donations to the auction from numerous members and friends, and lively bidding, the auction was hugely successful and generated approximately $63,000 in charitable proceeds. These were donated by the American Friends to the historic stained-glass window restoration project in the South Quire at St George’s Chapel.

Previously, but within the same period, our other fund-raising efforts were also highly successful. We were proud to support two Chorister scholarships — the result of a generous challenge match made by a group of our members – for a total gift of $50,000 for the tuition of two worthy full-time students within the College of St George.

In April 2023, we held our Annual Meeting and English Tea at the Cosmos Club in Washington, DC, with noted speaker Curt DiCamillo on the subject of ‘The Royal Collection.’ More than sixty guests attended it and, at the same meeting, we approved a significant revision and update of our by-laws; a task undertaken with the assistance of board members Richard Batchelder, Esq., and past president Craig Metz, Esq.

The group of US Friends attending Garter Day, 19 June 2023.

In June, we were deeply honored to bring an American delegation to the Service for the Order of the Garter in St George’s Chapel and to bear witness to the first such service conducted in the presence of Their Majesties since the magnificent Coronation held early the month before. During our visit we experienced the kind hospitality of Canon Martin Poll and his wife Diana with a lovely dinner at their house; a luncheon at the home of Canon Mark Powell and his wife Helen; and a group dinner at Cumberland Lodge. At the latter venue, an additional auction occurred, and it was won after heavily competitive bidding by our new member Brady Brim-DeForest, of Northport, Maine. This added significantly to our charitable fund-raising totals. Among our activities in Windsor that week were an enchanting Thames River champagne cruise organized by Director Tawny Welch, of Los Angeles, California, and the ever-delightful Bullicorn Party held by the College of Arms on the grounds of Windsor Great Park (our invitation to it facilitated once again by Second Vice-President John McC. Shannon of Charleston, South Carolina, and the College of Arms Foundation USA). Like the aforementioned on-line auction, our visit to Windsor was expertly arranged in every detail by Eva and Roy Strasburger. Thank you to the Strasburgers and all concerned.

In closing, our major announcement in this period was that the American Friends will co-host with the New England Historic Genealogical Society a dinner in Boston, Massachusetts. This will be next June, in honor of former Prime Minister Sir John Major, KG, CH, and his wife Dame Norma Major. Details of that event will be noted on-line in the coming months.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The King's Free Chapel. The Chapel of the Most Honourable and Noble Order of the Garter. The Chapel of the College of St George.