Richmond has celebrated its centuries-old connection with a Chilean hero and the head of the country’s first national government.

Led by Chilean Ambassador, HE Rolando Drago, the event on August 27, marked the anniversary of the birth of Bernardo O-Higgins, who was a key figure in the Chilean independence movement.

Mr O’Higgins lived in Richmond for two years whilst he studied at Clarence House in The Vineyard, which used to be a private school.

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”.

There is a blue plaque on the wall beside the house where Mr O’Higgins studied and a bust of him in the square.

The Military Attaché Colonel Christian Bolivar and the Mayor of Richmond, Cllr Lisa Blakemore, helped to lead 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.”