Links between the Society and the Crown go back to the time of Queen Anne who in 1695, while still a Princess, subscribed £44 to support Thomas Bray’s scheme for sending books to encourage learning and religion in the American colonies. This project led to the foundation of the SPCK a few years later. Anne’s consort, Prince George of Denmark, also had links with the Society, and it was largely through the encouragement of his chaplain that SPCK became involved with a Lutheran mission to East India which it was to support for over a century. The Hanoverian kings all showed support for the Society and its work. In 1720 George I donated the sizeable sum of £500 towards the SPCK’s publication of the Bible and Prayer book in Arabic.
In 1839 a more formal link was established when Queen Victoria agreed to become Patron of the Society, a role which has been continued by each of her successors. We are honoured and privileged to have the support of our present Queen, Elizabeth II, and are grateful for the interest she has always taken in our affairs.
To mark our tercentenary we received the following message from the Queen:
As Patron I am delighted that the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge is celebrating its three hundredth anniversary.
During the past years I have visited the Society’s offices in London and seen examples of its work in many parts of the Commonwealth. I have been impressed by the range and quality of its publications, and by the many ways in which it provides support to churches overseas in their own ministries of communication and education.
Training the leadership of tomorrow’s Church and ensuring that the Christian message is passed on to future generations are important roles, particularly when the pace of change is as fast as it is today. For three centuries SPCK has adapted successfully to changing times and has faithfully carried forward its mission. I am sure it will continue to adapt and I hope it will have many more anniversaries to celebrate in the years to come.