Less than a week after Prince Edward was named the Duke of Edinburgh, he made a two-day trip to the East Midlands to celebrate taking on the patronage of the charity founded by his late father, Prince Philip. On a Tuesday visit to Stonebridge City Farm in Nottingham, he spoke to Duke of Edinburgh Award volunteers and reflected on the memory of his father.
“Some say the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is in my DNA—it’s certainly been a major part of my life for a very long time,” he said in a speech. “Being asked to take on the role of patron after my father is a particular honor and quite a responsibility. Sustaining and enhancing what is arguably his greatest legacy around the world matters a great deal to me, as does pursuing the award’s long-term ambition of universal access so that every eligible young person has the opportunity to participate.”
His involvement with the charity began when he won his own award in 1986 for outdoor activities. Beginning in the 2000s, Edward traveled internationally to promote the awards, and he became the charity’s head trustee in 2015, soon before his father retired from public duties in 2017.
On Tuesday, his visit to Stonebridge City Farm gave him an opportunity to feed animals and tour the gardens with DofE volunteers. He also visited Balfour Beatty’s Raynesway facility in Derby, where he saw skills presentations from students working towards a DofE Business award. He finished his visit to the region with a Wednesday trip to Portland College, a residential school for people with disabilities, where he played boccia, toured an outdoor adventure course, and unveiled a plaque celebrating their new theater.
Afterward the college curriculum manager David Winter spoke to local newspaper Mansfield and Ashfield Chad about the role the charity plays at the school. “It was great to get the opportunity to show off what we do here. We do amazing things and change lives on a daily basis,” he said. “DofE is a massive part of our curriculum, which is based around learners being happy and focusing on their well being – giving to others, being active, connecting to other people, making memories and creating opportunities. The duke really liked and embraced that.”
Edward’s new title means that his wife, Sophie, is now the Duchess of Edinburgh. On Monday, the couple attended the annual Commonwealth Day church service at Westminster Abbey along with King Charles III, Queen Consort Camilla, and the Prince and Princess of Wales. During the event Sophie wore the same black pearl drop earrings that she wore during her 1999 wedding, which were reportedly designed by Edward himself.
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