“Prince Edward has done an outstanding job”, observed Alan Jones, one of Australia’s most influential media commentators.
Prince Edward has been in Australia both for the Commonwealth Games- he is Vice Patron of the Commonwealth Games Federation – and also to represent The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award International Foundation in country NSW, at Dubbo , in Melbourne and in Sydney.
He is proving a popular member of the Royal Family, and has impressed those who have met him as an intelligent, thoughtful and caring person. Because of his strong and genuine interest in young people, he communicates easily with them. And they reciprocate, as was evident though out this visit. The young, the arts and sport are his strongest interests.
A patron of a number of sporting bodies, he succeeded The Duke of Edinburgh as President of the Commonwealth Games Federation. He enjoys a variety of sports, including horse-riding, sailing, skiing and the less well known game of real or Royal tennis. He took up real tennis at Cambridge University when he had to give up rugby through injury. This was to be his chosen physical recreation activity for his Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award.
During his visit, The Prince spoke with wit and passion at a fund raising dinner at Parliament House, Sydney, Australia for The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award International Foundation. With state minister, Hon. Sandra Nori, he visited Dubbo in New South Wales, including meetings with indigenous youth which were descirbed as inspiring. He also addressed a mainly youthful audience at the launch of the Asia Pacific 50th Anniversary Photographic Exhibition at the Porsche Centre Sydney South.
Three years ago, in 2002 the Prince and the Countess of Wessex decided to concentrate on supporting The Queen during the Golden Jubilee and beyond. This was to help the Royal Family shoulder some of the increasing workload into the future. Accordingly they withdrew from their respective companies, Ardent Productions and R-JH, in order to focus their energies more into supporting those organisations, charities, individuals and companies which they believe deserved to be recognised for their effort, initiative and entrepreneurship.
Prince Edward undertakes a full schedule of official engagements in support of Her Majesty The Queen, and a growing number of charitable and other organisations with which he is actively involved, usually as patron. In 2005, he carried out some 349 engagements in the UK and overseas. He is taking a significant role in the The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme.
Launched in 1956, the scheme is aimed at young people between 15 and 25, whether able-bodied or disabled. The three Award levels, Bronze, Silver and Gold, include four sections: service, expeditions, skills and physical recreation.
Perhaps more than anything else, this challenging programme demonstrates The Prince’s keen interest in and support for the personal development of young people.
More than four million people in over 60 countries have taken part since its inception in 1956.
Prince Philip has served as the scheme’s Patron and Chairman of Trustees since its beginning, and devotes much time presenting Gold awards and meeting both participants and helpers, in the UK and overseas.
Prince Edward successfully represented the scheme on his recent visit to Australia, and with his role in the Games, has become better known, and more appreciated for his considerable contributions to public life in Australia
Incidentally, the Prince is the recipient of , among others, the New Zealand Commemorative Medal, struck in 1990 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Treaty of Waitangi and the formation of modern New Zealand.
His Royal Highness holds military appointments in Canada. He is the Colonel in Chief of the Saskatchewan Dragoons and Colonel in Chief of the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment.
These were made quite recently; are similar appointments made today in Australia? And if not, may we ask, why not?