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World News

A full fridge and a Land Rover - the Queen's treats for former Archbishop's adviser Terry Waite

by Donna Birrell

The former hostage Terry Waite says the Queen's deep personal faith was always lived out, even away from the cameras.

Terry Waite who was an adviser to the Anglican Communion and an envoy to the former Archbishop of Canterbury Robert Runcie was held hostage in Lebanon for nearly five years.

He'd been trying to negotiate the release of british soldiers during the first Gulf War. 

He's been speaking to Premier about how the Queen invited him to stay at Balmoral on his release from captivity in 1991: "When you come out of an experience of being incarcerated for five years, and you haven't spoken to anybody for five years and anytime anyone came in the room, you've had to wear a blindfold, so you didn't see anyone. Then suddenly to come out into the glare of publicity, it's not easy.

"It was bewildering and I was totally amazed, as was my whole family, when we received an invitation from the Queen to go to Balmoral. She had recognised that one had to do a certain amount of publicity and I had to give a big press conference when I came out. But she also recognised that one needed privacy and she said she could provide it there."

Terry Waite, his wife and four children travelled up to a Scottish airbase in an RAF Hercules and then transferred to a helicopter which landed on the front lawn at Balmoral Castle :

"Well coming from prison to the front lawn in Balmoral was quite a gap, a great jump. My recollections of those days are dim because I was still in the process of recovery, but I remember that we were given a house in the grounds. It was normally used by Princess Anne, when she goes there. The fridge was stocked and there was a Land Rover. We were told that if we needed any help, cooking or cleaning or driving, it was all provided. If we wanted to be alone, we could be alone.

"We decided to manage by ourselves and we were invited to dine with the Royal Family at the weekend. But most of the time, we were pretty much by ourselves."

Many tributes have been paid to the Queen and the depth of her faith and duty, but Terry Waite says it's important for everyone to recognise that her faith was always lived out even away from the cameras : 

"The Queen has a highly symbolic role. She also has a deep faith and deep Christian faith, but she wasn't the sort of person who preaches that at people. She just demonstrates it in her actions. I wanted it to be known that, apart from all the official functions, where she's presenting this and seeing that, behind it lies a warm human being who's putting Christian principles and Christian values into action by her deeds. She's done that with me and I know she's done it with countless other people."


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