Prince Edward the Duke of Kent Speaks at Uganda Independence 1962

Prince Edward

It was with the greatest pleasure and pride that I received the command of The Queen to be Her Majesty’s special representative at the Independence Celebrations of Uganda and my wife and I deeply appreciate the welcome which Uganda has given us since our arrival here on Sunday.

I am sure that all of us present on this memorable occasion must have been greatly moved, as I have been, by the Service in which we have just joined.  This is a fitting start to a new chapter in the life of this country, and it symbolises, I believe, the unity, the mutual respect, and the brotherhood of the many peoples who live together in Uganda and who, from today, will go forward along the new road of Independence.  It is this same spirit of unity upon which the structure of the Commonwealth is based; and it is this that creates harmony out of a wide diversity of races and peoples.

During the weeks that passed before our arrival in your country, my wife and I enjoyed learning something of your long and colourful history.  And now that we are here, we are delighted that we are to be given the opportunity of seeing so much of Uganda.  What has especially impressed us has been the friendship which, over the years, has grown up between Uganda and the United Kingdom since our two countries first made contact with each other.  I hope sincerely that this firm friendship will be a lasting one, that its strength will continue, and that it will prove to be a source of encouragement to Uganda and to Britain in the years ahead.

This is perhaps an appropriate moment for me to say a few words to the young people and children of Uganda.  Today is a momentous one in the history of your country and one which, I hope, you will remember all through your lives.  I hope, too, that you will to-day determine to be good and loyal citizens of Uganda.  The future, with its opportunities but with all its responsibilities, lies before the people of Uganda, and in particular before all of you; it is upon you that the hopes of your country’s prosperity and success depend, and the world will judge your country by your conduct and, above all, by your integrity.

This lovely country which is your home was once aptly described as “a fairy tale” – a description given to it by one of the greatest men of our time, Sir Winston Churchill, who came to Uganda nearly sixty years ago.  In Uganda, he continued, “There is discipline, there is industry, there is peace”.  And, “From end to end, it is one beautiful garden.”

It was a well-deserved tribute, as my wife and I have been able to see for ourselves; it is now in your hands to preserve this good repute; to ensure that your country’s name is respected by other nations, not only in the vast Continent of Africa but throughout the world, and to build it into a nation that is envied everywhere for its stability, and for its happiness.

Finally, on this, the birthday of the Independent State of Uganda, may I offer you my heartfelt greetings and good wishes?  It is a strange but for me most happy coincidence that to-day should chance also to be my birthday – not indeed my first, but one certainly of the happiest that I have ever spent.

It is now my solemn duty, and privilege, to hand to you, Mr. Prime Minister, as the representative of the peoples of Uganda, the Constitutional Instruments embodying the Independence of Uganda.

May God bless you all.