Earl of Wessex’s Melbourne visit promotes Duke of Edinburgh award scheme & real tennis

The Earl of Wessex has been in Australia since Friday, on a visit designed to promote The Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) award scheme. Prince Edward is not the only royal visitor to the Commonwealth nation this week, Charles and Camilla have also been in Australia.

While his eldest brother arrived in Brisbane, Prince Edward’s visit Down Under has been taking place in the Australian state of Victoria. On Friday, the Earl had several engagements – just a few days after attending church with The Queen on Easter Sunday – beginning with a reception at Government House in Melbourne, where Edward presented over 70 students and young people with the Gold Award, the highest standard offered by the DofE scheme.

Edward and his wife, Sophie, have become increasingly active in The Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme in recent years, particularly as the elderly Duke has retired from royal duties. It is expected that, when King, Prince Charles will create his brother ‘Duke of Edinburgh’, so that he may continue this work.

As well as the youth reception, Edward attended a lunch at Melbourne’s Australian Club. The lunch was held in honour of those who have received the award in the past, along with ambassadors and supporters of the scheme.

The Earl also recognised those who have been long-time DofE volunteers, awarding 13 long service medals and 2 distinguished service medals.

Friday’s final engagement was a black tie event at the Park Hyatt Hotel. The ambassador’s dinner acknowledged the biggest supporters of The Duke of Edinburgh award in Victoria, including Yooralla, one of Australia’s largest non-profit organisations, which provides support for over 30,000 Victorians living with a disability.

On Saturday (7th April), the youngest of The Queen’s children paid a visit to the Royal Melbourne Tennis Club, where he played a game of real tennis.  This engagement was part of the Real Tennis Tour 2018, wherein Edward will attempt to play the ancient sport on every existing court in the country – there are only 38 courts left in the world, with the majority being located in the UK.

The aim of the tour is to promote The Duke of Edinburgh International Award Scheme, as well as raising awareness of the ‘King’s sport’, which is played indoors on a wooden court with asymmetric racquets, with the walls forming part of the court, too.

In keeping with the Real Tennis Tour, on Saturday The Earl of Wessex also attended a Real Tennis dinner at the Melbourne Cricket Club in Richmond.

His 18-year-old doubles mate said he was ‘a bit of a jokester’ on the court.

On Sunday, Prince Edward then travelled to the Victorian city of Ballarat, which is about 90 minutes from Melbourne; this was the first visit by a British Royal to Ballarat in 18 years.

The Earl visited Federation University, which was a stop on Prince Charles’ tour back in 1974. Upon arrival at the university campus, Edward was greeted by academic officials and also a corgi! The royal guest discussed methods of promoting The Duke of Edinburgh Award in the city.

The Earl also attended a ceremony and luncheon to promote the scheme, where he gave a speech emphasising that the awards not only arm young people with new skills, but also offers them the confidence to follow opportunities in the future. Edward then continued with his Real Tennis Tour, taking part in the noble sport at the city’s Real Tennis centre.

As well as his visit to Victoria, The Queen’s youngest son will also travel to Adelaide, and he is expected to make an appearance at the Commonwealth Games, which are being held on the Gold Coast.

More on The Earl of Wessex’s Australia to come next week.

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Royalist Sun 08 April, 2018 - 11:43 pm

I would have loved to welcome Prince Edward in Ballarat, but neither the local newspaper (The Courier) nor the local TV station provided any schedule of His Royal Highness in Ballarat.. It was impossible to find out, where The Count of Wessex would be where and when. It was as if the Victorian protocol tried to hied the Prince from the public. Was it to turn around later just to say: “Nobody was interested.”

Bianca Mon 09 April, 2018 - 12:29 pm

I think the courier did reveal his schedule- my mum was the one who took our corgi out to the uni to see him, so she must have read about the times somewhere.


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