British jeweller Pragnell’s at the heart of Shakespeare’s 450th birthday celebrations

British jeweller Pragnells at the heart of Shakespeares 450th birthday celebrationsPragnell plays a starring role at the heart of British celebrations marking Shakespeare's 450th birthday this week.

At a luncheon sponsored by George Pragnell and attended by 600 guests including British MPs and senior representatives from the Chinese and US embassies, National Theatre director Nicholas Hytner was presented with the Pragnell Shakespeare Birthday Prize, an honour for extending the enjoyment of Shakespeare's works, in the form of a magnificent silver vessel handcrafted at the George Pragnell workshops.

George Pragnell's associations with Shakespeare run deep. The Pragnell family has lived in Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare's birthplace, for three generations. In 1990 chairman Jeremy Pragnell introduced the Pragnell Shakespeare Birthday Prize, which has honoured a thespian hall of fame including Dame Judi Dench and Sir Patrick Stewart, while Pragnell's remain regular sponsors of the Royal Shakespeare Company theatre.

Marking the anniversary, Pragnell's is offering a limited edition Shakespeare pen in oak wood and antique silver or gold, with engraved detailing including Shakespeare's portrait and the initials WS.

In 1893 pupils at Shakespeare's alma mater King Edward VI Grammar School began what was to become an annual parade, stopping to lay flowers at the Bard's grave at Holy Trinity Church. This weekend, 3000 people witnessed Stratford-upon-Avon come to life in a parade including a flag unfurling ceremony and an innovative display of newly coined words draped around the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust garden.