Letter of Sir Richard Cook
Thank you very much for your wonderful hospitality in receiving me, my friend Fayez, my sister Priscilla and her friend at your Sintra home together with your husband Joao and other members of the Friends of Monserrate. Your welcoming was very kind, most convivial and more appreciated than you may realize.
It is sad that we are no longer recognized as the Viscondes de Monserrate, but nonetheless, I remain so in my heart of hearts! Fortunately though, the Friends of Monserrate have rather sensitively taken on a most important social responsibility with regard to Monserrate, not least of which is ensuring that state oversights are brought to attention and that the palace is not just left to the whims of successive governments who may or may not see Monserrate's significance within the art historical, botanical, social and cultural history of Portugal and the world. Thus, you have taken on in part the mantle of the Viscondes de Monserrate. Your existence, therefore, must remain steadfast and I should be delighted to be counted among your allies. In moments of doubt, remember that since your formation, with Emma Gilbert originally at the helm, you the Friends of Monserrate, have remained unwavering guardians of this gem. You were there during its most troubled times over the past 25 years and because of your intervention, the Friends of Monserrate are now inextricably interlaced within the delicate and romantic history of Monserrate, for all of posterity. So, well done you!
The Portuguese government is doing a remarkable job with the restoration of Monserrate and many other areas of cultural and historical interest and for that they must be commended whole heartedly. They are embarking on numerous important projects and I shall be writing to Sintra Parks to offer my assistance specifically with regard to piecing together an inventory of works of art originally displayed at Monserrate. This is no simple task as there are mountains of papers to go through and there is no guarantee that the detail will be found, however, this is something I am willing to help with as I am, after all, an art historian and I also have Brenda, Lady Cook's blessing. In fact Brenda and I had a long chat on my return and she was very pleased to hear how wonderful everything was with Monserrate, the Friends of Monserrate and with Sintra in general.
In addition to thanking you, Dinah, I would like to thank each and every one of you, the Friends of Monserrate, for your warm welcoming. I ask, if you wouldn't mind, to give me a list of the friends who appeared in the photograph with me on your front step. I would like to be able to identify each one if possible so that I may eventually be able to thank each individually. Any email addresses would be welcome too. I was rather overwhelmed with the whole day and as such did not manage to speak with everyone on a personal level, which I would like to do on my next visit!
Thank you Dinah and congratulations on your remarkable achievements. It was an absolute pleasure to meet you.
With my warmest regards,