The Institute played host to a majestic evening of celebration at the Royal Horseguards Hotel on Wednesday night, with HRH The Princess Royal privy to an inspiring congregation of Queen’s Awards winners and key international trade figures.
Following a glamorous drinks reception (sponsored by Yusen Logistics) inside the landmark Victorian hotel’s Reading & Writing Room, attendees were treated to a special three-course dinner in the Gladstone Library. The library looks just as the four times PM William Gladstone would have known it – fully shelved with 30 thousand volumes, though these days the books are decorative replicas.
Cathy Newman’s wide-ranging keynote speech
Keynote speaker Cathy Newman, of Channel 4 News anchor fame, delved into some of Gladstone’s collection, remarking on his penchant for tomes about fruit farming. Her wide-ranging speech swung across recent political and journalistic history, careering through Margaret Thatcher’s ‘power handbags’, colleague Jon Snow’s squeamishness on TV cooking programmes, insights into her experiences as female journalist, and London’s sewage pileups.
Quite a way to celebrate for the Queen’s Award winners
It was quite a way for the Queen’s Award winners to celebrate their achievements. All winners from the International Trade category were invited to the annual dinner hosted by the Institute, to go along with their year’s free membership.
Two members of each team had already met Her Majesty the Queen at a Buckingham Palace reception for the Queen’s Awards, but the gala dinner was a great opportunity for the wider teams of the winning companies to celebrate and have their own royal engagements with HRH The Princess Royal.
Hear it from those who were there
"After having had the honour to discuss Merci Maman’s export strategy with Her Majesty The Queen in July, it was a great honour to meet HRH The Princess Royal last night at the Queen’s Award Gala Dinner organised by the Institute of Export. We celebrated successes and got the chance to network with like-minded British brands. Whilst the UK remains our core market, we see significant potential to expand overseas and look forward to developing exports from our London atelier."
Arnaud de Montille, Merci Maman
"The Queen’s Award dinner was a fitting and enjoyable end to our Queen’s Award celebrations. It was very well attended and a great opportunity to network. We were also delighted to be picked to be in the receiving line and have time with HRH The Princess Royal."
Graham Smith, Fish4Dogs Ltd.
"The event was very well organised and we very much enjoyed meeting the Princess Royal who showed a real interest in what we do. It was a pleasure to meet more of the Queen’s Award winners and very inspiring to learn about their businesses. The venue was excellent and we really enjoyed the dinner."
Lucinda O’Reilly, Ecotile Flooring Ltd.
Many thanks to Yusen Logistics
The evening was also a great opportunity for networking between exporters, the Institute team, and organisations from the broader international trade industry. We’d like to thank Yusen Logistics for their support in sponsoring the drinks reception. They told us:
“Yusen Logistics started their relationship with the Institute of Export some 18 months ago and were very proud to be the event partner for their 2017 Queen’s Award for Export Gala Dinner. This annual event to celebrate the success of the Queen’s Award for Export winners is always prestigious and was even more so this year with the presence of Her Royal Highness, the Princess Royal. It was a great honour for Yusen Logistics to celebrate with the Award winners and also support the excellent work that the Institute of Export & International Trade is doing to help UK businesses expand internationally.”
Roger Warlow, Business Unit Director
The Director General’s final words
Director General of the Institute of Export & International Trade, Lesley Batchelor OBE, said:
“Once again this was a fantastic evening with a truly inspiring gathering of UK businesses. We were deeply honoured that HRH the Princess Royal could share the evening with us. It was a pleasure to watch her speak to each of the winners and a thrill that the Queen’s Award winners had such a wonderful time".