"It gives me great pleasure, as your chairman and CEO for nearly 60 years now, to review our progress over the past and present year... "
"Let me start by congragulating my fellow director, Phillip Windsor, on reaching his 90th birthday and showing no signs whatsoever of wishing to retire. Indeed in this age of tedious political correctness it is always so refreshing for the board to know we can rely on Phillip to voice his forthright views at all times. Given the Deputy Prime Minister's pronouncements on family connections and the jobs market I am sure we can expect Phillip to express his opinion on this topical issue shortly.
The past year has been one of our more successful trading periods. There has been the occasional mishap but nothing like on the scale we have had to endure in so many of our more recent times. Indeed, as I write, awareness of our brand globally has never been higher. I will return to this subject shortly.
Charles Windsor has continued to develop our Duchy Originals business most ably. Together with his senior manager, Camilla, they have unstintingly sought out new markets both at home and overseas, winning many converts to their more natural, easy going style, than was the case a few years ago.
Our one unfortunate trading experience was in the international arena where it was pointed out to our colleague Andrew Windsor that he had been associating with some business contacts of questionable veracity. Unfavourable media comment has undoubtedly damaged our ability to do business in the short term but once Andrew has undergone a period of re-training I am confident that our medium to long-term prospects will not be impaired.
Turning to our investment portfolio the main item of interest has been our stake in the Church of England. Unfortunately its main competitor, the Roman Catholic Church, has been actively trying to lure away some of their best traders. In order to protect our position we are urging the C of E's CEO to adopt a more effective way of addressing the ever more competitive world which his company finds itself in. Meanwhile our property portfolio continues to be of the highest quality though we do expect to have to set aside more financial resources for repairs and renewals as some of the palaces are looking a little tired.
I now turn to what should prove our most exciting news for many years, by which I do of course mean the impending appointment of Kate Middleton to the board. Kate, together with William Windsor, brings a much needed injection of youth and vigour to the company. Interest in her appointment is expected to make a significant and highly profitable contribution to our business globally for many years to come. An early indication of this is we are in advanced talks with a well known Hollywood Animation House to exploit the film star quality of Kate & Wills. Initially it was suggested that a new version of Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs should be made but your board felt this didn't strike quite the right note.
In conclusion, my fellow directors and I are confident that the current year will produce the best trading performance since my great-great-grandmother last led your company and I look forward to reporting this as part of my Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012."