In an exclusive royal interview, Michael Dewar talks to the Duke of Kent, particularly on the future of Freemasonry in his role as Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England|
Good Morning Sir, it is a great privilege for us that you have agreed to be interviewed for the inaugural issue of MQ Magazine. With all the emphasis in recent years on communication and information, do you think there is any reason why the United Grand Lodge of England has not up to now had its own in-house magazine?
There are probably very good reasons why it has not been possible. After all, we have a very large membership of over 300,000 people and simply finding them and keeping a record of where they all are would have been quite a task. With modern techniques of building databases, this has become possible at relatively low cost. This is a wonderful opportunity and I am delighted that we are now going to have this vehicle for communicating with all our members and, indeed, with a great many other people. I understand the magazine is not exclusively for Freemasons, so I warmly welcome this initiative. I hope it will be a great success.
The idea is that MQ will be part of the mechanism for reintegrating Freemasonry into the community. Its timing is quite apposite, as its launch is just before Freemasonry in the Community Week this summer. It is part of that process, and I hope that you feel it is a sensible way to go.
I think it is, and it will be most interesting to see the way it develops. But it must not be seen as just a way of telling Freemasons things that we want them to know, because it obviously needs to be broader and less exclusive than that. I think there is a scope for a magazine that allows Masonic issues to be freely discussed in a way they have not been in the past, together with a great many other subjects. I hope it will be as broad as possible.
You've had an extremely interesting and varied life; what is it that has encouraged you to include Freemasonry in it?
Like so many people, I grew up in almost total ignorance of Freemasonry, except that I was conscious of a strong family link, because my father was initiated when he was in the navy, and later became Grand Master, but not for long, because he died very early. Also his father and two of his brothers were Masons. Many people who join Freemasonry know very little and need to be inducted into it gradually. That's what happened to me. I found that as I learned more and more about it I became more interested and enthusiastic.