The British High Commissioner hosted a small private lunch to celebrate the 95th birthday of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the British Residence in Kota Batu yesterday.
British High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam John Virgoe, Cabinet Ministers, senior officials representing the government, the judiciary, the business community, civil society and youth were present, along with British Deputy High Commissioner to Brunei Darussalam Natalie Gowers-Barnes, Defence Adviser Group Captain Graeme Davis, Toby Salisbury and Sabrina Shofry.
John Virgoe, in his speech, said, “This is very special year, in which Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II turns 95 and His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam will turn 75. Between them, they have reigned for 122 years. Their personal friendship mirrors the closeness and warmth of the relationship between our two countries.”
The British High Commissioner said the guests included some of the United Kingdom’s (UK) closest friends in Brunei and represented the key pillars in the relationship: from the warm relationship between the royal families, to defence, education, trade, judicial and diplomatic ties, as well as the UK and Brunei’s shared membership of the Commonwealth family.
Describing Brunei as “our closest friend in the region”, John Virgoe noted positive developments in the relationship over the last year, including the visit to Brunei in April by the UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and the return visit to London in May by Minister of Foreign Affairs II Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Erwyan bin Pehin Datu Pekerma Jaya Haji Mohd Yusof.
He welcomed the agreement of the two countries to establish a strategic dialogue, and thanked Brunei for their strong support of the UK’s application to become a dialogue partner of ASEAN.