ISSUE 1, April 2002

MQ Interview: HRH the Duke of Kent
Grand Lodge: Quarterly Communication
Masonic Charities
Grand Lodge: General News
Architecture: Freemasons' Hall: Art Deco in the Shadow of Covent Garden
Gardener's Diary: Springing into Action
Book Reviews

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Another of your many roles is President of the All England Tennis Club and, until recently, of the Football Association. Does sport still play an important part in national life?

All these sports seem to have a large following, but how many people are active in sport is entirely another matter - perhaps not as many as there should be. We all regret that more children at school are not able to take part in sport, although I know it is officially encouraged. You only have to look at television programmes to see how much coverage is given mainly to football - and other sports as well - which is excellent. I handed over the presidency of the Football Association about 18 months ago to the Duke of York. I was president for about 28 years, and I've been President at the All England Club at Wimbledon since 1969. So that's a good many years as well, and although I'm deeply interested in the club at Wimbledon and those championships, I have to admit that I have not been a close follower of tennis around the world. I don't go off to the Australian Open or the USA Open, or wherever, simply because of a lack of time.

You will be pleased to hear that one of the articles in this issue of MQ covers this year's Wimbledon hopes for Tim Henman and all he's doing for British tennis.

Yes, he's a splendid ambassador for British tennis, and I would love to see Tim Henman win a Grand Slam Championship, which he hasn't quite managed to do yet. We all hope he will. But what we desperately need is more young Henmans and female equivalents coming along, and we don't seem to have very many of those at the moment. But a lot of effort is going into financing young people and much of that comes from Wimbledon, which produces many millions every year, which goes back into tennis.

One can't conduct an interview without referring to your royal duties, which have taken up a large part of your life, and which have been superimposed on all your other duties.

In a way it was quite an adjustment from being a full-time professional soldier to leaving the army and then doing a whole lot of other different things, but now it's a matter of working out a programme and just doing what needs to be done. I'm extremely lucky that people have asked me to be connected with different charities and a whole host of different organisations. I'm Chancellor of two universities, and I'm connected with schools and scientific bodies like the Royal Institution and medical charities and others, so there is a great variety of different things. No two days are quite the same. Recently, for example, I spent the day in Guernsey where I visited a concert hall which I opened about 15 years ago. I then met a group of Guernsey business men at lunchtime and in the afternoon I went to the Guernsey Lifeboat, because I happen also to be the president of the Lifeboat Institution. So that shows you the sort of variety that one can fit into a day's visit.

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