Rev Tuomas Mäkipää, Chaplain and Diana Webster a longstanding member of the Anglican Church in Helsinki and former lay-chair of the General Synod, were honoured with an introduction to the Duke of Cambridge, during a visit to mark the 100th Anniversary of Finland's independence.

Prince William brought a message from HM the Queen to the President of the Republic. Tuomas says “It was very warm and uplifting meeting with HRH. Most of the discussion in the group, as his whole visit, focused on children and education. He was keen to hear the group's thoughts about Finnish schools and the Chaplain shared his own experiences as a father of three. Diana Webster shared her views as an English teacher who has a long experience of Finnish schools.”

Tuomas adds; “The visit reflects the way the Anglican Church in Helsinki and the Embassy have been building ways of co-operation. For example: the Chaplain is available as 'a listener' if someone, after receiving consular services and help, would like to speak about their traumatic experience. The weekly Sunday School in English, Remembrance Day service and Nine Lessons and Carols can be seen as examples of culturally English and appreciated by a wider community. This year the Chaplaincy has hosted two Brexit town hall meetings together with the British Embassy to allow UK citizen to ask about the process and to express their thoughts.”

The visit came during a week when media attention  was focused on the Duke’s brother Prince Harry whose engagement to Ms Meghan Markle had just been announced. Prince William spoke of the close friendship the two couples already and said he hoped his brother and his brief-to-be would have lots of happy times ahead of them.