By Armen Zakarian
The British Royal family – Duke Richard Gloucester and his wife, Queen Elizabeth’s cousin, the Duchess Bridget Gloucester are on a visit to Armenia, mainly to participate in the celebrations of the 1700th anniversary of Christianity in Armenia. This is the first visit of a member of the British Royal Family to Armenia.
The Duke and the Duchess visited many institutions and businesses in Armenia to gain a better understanding of the country and in some cases, according to Timothy Jones, the British Ambassador to Armenia, to help these institutions gain more recognition. The Ambassador also voiced hope that the visit will foster closer economic ties between Armenia and Great Britain.
However, while in Armenia the distinguished couple participated in laying the foundation of a new British embassy building, which will be constructed on Baghramian Avenue, where the presidential palace, parliament and many embassies are situated. Also, in a ceremony today, it was announced that a branch of the world famous British Council will be established in Armenia sometime next spring.
The Duke and Duchess also visited the HSBC bank, which is the only large foreign bank operating in Armenia since 1996 and employs more than a hundred local employees. A British-Armenian business mogul, Mr. Vache Manukian who is a big shareholder in the HSBC bank worldwide was instrumental in establishing a branch in Armenia. HSBC is said to be one of the top ten banks in the world.
The visit of the the Duke and Duchess Gloster will continue until November 6.