• Faithful to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland


  • NEWS

  • 2 May 2019

    On 2nd May 2019, a celebration of the 250th anniversary of the first Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth permanent envoy’s arrival to the UK in 1769 and the centenary of the renewal of UK-Poland diplomatic relations took place at Lancaster House.


    The event was hosted by Mark Field, UK Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific, Ambassador of Poland Arkady Rzegocki and Ambassador of Lithuania Renatas Norkus, and among those attending were members of the diplomatic corps, as well as partners of the Foreign Office and the Embassies. It coincided with commemorations of Poland’s National Day, celebrated on 3rd May.


    The official part of the event began with the national anthems of the United Kingdom, Poland and Lithuania performed by the saxophonist Rusne Mikiskaite. After the guests listened to the anthems, minister Field and the ambassadors of both countries took to the floor.


    “Today, we celebrate constitutional, liberal and parliamentary traditions that we share with the United Kingdom and Lithuania,” said Ambassador Rzegocki.


    “The Polish-Lithuanian Union, which lasted over 400 years, created a multi-ethnic, multi-nation state, based on freedom and tolerance. The best result from the centuries-long tradition of Polish-Lithuanian parliamentarism and constitutionalism, dating back to the 15th century was the adoption of the Constitution of 3rd May 1791, recognised worldwide as Europe’s first and world’s second democratic constitution. The news about the adoption of the constitution by the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth spread throughout Europe immediately and aroused great interest, especially among the English elite.


    “The extremely fast reaction of Britain to what was such a momentous event for Poland was due to close relations maintained by the last King of Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Stanisław August Poniatowski, co-founder of the constitution, with the English political elite. There was also a great willingness among Poles themselves to popularise the constitution because of its uniqueness. Even Edmund Burke, an outstanding thinker and a Whig politician, praised the Polish constitutional act, too. The Constitution of 3rd May is not only the legacy of many nations who used to form the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, but also an important part of the European heritage.”


    In his speech, minister Field said: “Historic anniversaries, like the ones we are celebrating today, allow all of us to rejoice in the depths of the bonds that are there between our countries, and also to reassert a very shared vision for an ever-closer relationship in the future. Our friends from Poland and Lithuania will be friends through thick and thin in relation to our security, our defence, our intelligence, our diplomacy, our educational connections, and we have the living bridge of 1 million Poles living in the UK and over 250,000 people from Lithuania. Clearly, in the here and now, Brexit will inevitably cause a very significant change for all of us, however that vast span of history and our centuries-old friendship have weathered the challenges and we have all emerged stronger, and we should do so again in the future. There will continue to be so many things that bind us together, from the values that we share to the common challenges that we face.”


    After the speeches, the guests present at the meeting had the opportunity to watch performances of the Lithuanian folk group Saduto and the Mazury Dance Company. After the official part, guests were invited to a reception.


    Polish Embassy UK Press Office


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