Yesterday evening, Prince Charles was named not merely ‘Londoner of the Year’ – but ‘Londoner of the decade’ at an awards ceremony, recognising his forward thinking nature and charity work.
The award came from the Evening Standard and the paper’s Progress 1000 party, which took place at the Science Museum in Kensington, to honour London’s innovators.
The Prince of Wales confessed he was ‘surprised’ at being selected for the accolade, but most of us will understand his great work in many areas, including the promotion of Britain and British products; helping young people into employment or training through The Prince’s Trust, protecting the environment; and also bringing about change, but in a sympathetic way, that enables the past to be honoured whilst creating forward thinking constructions and enduring projects.
Many high-profile guests were in attendance, including London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan and actress Joanna Lumley. It is not clear whether Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall was there, but the couple were spotted leaving Scott’s restaurant in Mayfair, a short distance from Clarence House – perhaps a celebratory dinner for the couple to mark the Prince’s fantastic award – later that evening.
“I am most touched and, indeed, surprised, that the Evening Standard should have decided to give me the award of Londoner of the Decade,” Charles said in a speech.
“I have to confess I am not entirely sure whether to be pleased or alarmed. Perhaps I am losing my touch when such eminent newspapers start giving me achievement awards! So I set to wondering what this achievement might have been?
— Clarence House (@ClarenceHouse) 7 September 2016
“As I suppose I have spent most of my life trying to propose and initiate things that very few people could see the point of or, frankly, thought were plain bonkers at the time, perhaps some of them are now beginning to recognise a spot of pioneering in all this apparent madness,” Charles said, referring to his many projects over the years.
“All forms of pioneering have moments that make you hold your breath and cross your fingers. There is a good chance it could all go horribly wrong and there’s a fine line between the success of a good, original idea and a complete disaster.
“If it fails, it fails, but at least you had a go – and I could always say one of my plants told me to do it!,” Charles joked. “Starting my Duchy Originals food company twenty-five years ago was a case in point. When we launched the first organic oat biscuit there were tabloid headlines saying “A shop-soiled Royal.” People now tend to understand the point of, and enjoy, the organic food they once thought of as bonkers twenty-five years ago – and, through Duchy Originals, I have so far given away more than £14 million to charitable causes.
“When it comes to pioneering,” the Prince continued, “I would very much like to thank the Standard for recognising the work of my Foundation for Building Community…The point is simply this, that I believe it pays enormous social and environmental dividends if you go to the trouble of involving local people, with the right professional facilitators, in the design of the places where they live.
“I am enormously grateful to Sarah Sands and her team at the Evening Standard, for your kindness – perhaps rashness – in recognising some of my seemingly rather rash, pioneering efforts from all those years ago.”