Borough’s centuries old connection with Chilean hero marked today

Release Date: 23 August 2017

Richmond upon Thames celebrated its centuries-old connection with Chilean hero Bernardo O’Higgins at a ceremony in Richmond today. The event marked the anniversary of the birth of one of the key figures in the Chilean independence movement and head of the country’s first national government.

Bernardo O’Higgins lived in Richmond for two years whilst he studied at Clarence House in The Vineyard, which used to be a private school. There is a blue plaque on the wall beside the house and a bust of O’Higgins in the square.

The ceremony was led by the Chilean Ambassador, HE Rolando Drago, together with the Military Attaché Colonel Christian Bolivar and the Mayor of Richmond upon Thames, Cllr Lisa Blakemore, led the event at O’Higgins Square near Richmond Bridge.

The Mayor said:

“I’m delighted to welcome H.E Mr. Rolando Drago and Colonel Bolivar to Richmond. We are very proud of the borough’s special connection with such a significant part of Chilean history. The connection continues to this day, with his statue and the square named after him at the very centre of our community.”

HE Drago said:

“The relationship between Chile and the United Kingdom has many chapters and one of the earliest ones is the formative years that our founding father Bernardo O´Higgins spent in Richmond in the late eighteenth century. Chileans consider Richmond to be O´Higgins’ spiritual home, the place where he strengthened his intellectual qualities and matured his vision of an independent Chile. More than two hundred years later, we are proud and honoured to come every 20th of August to join the Richmond Council in recognising the important contribution that Bernardo O´Higgins gave to my country and its independence and to celebrate an important milestone in our shared history”.

Notes for editors

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Reference: P391/17

Updated: 31 August 2017