Prince Charles and Camilla opened London’s new electricity super-highway yesterday, to the nineties hit song, ‘I’ve Got The Power’.
The royal couple were greeted by a crowd of schoolchildren upon their arrival in Tottenham, where The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall were to officially open the city’s newest addition to the power grid.
Despite a late night, celebrating the 10th anniversary of the British Asian Trust, the heir to the throne looked cheerful as he embarked on a tour of the facility, while donning an orange high-vis jacket and a hard hat emblazoned with the words ‘National Grid’.
The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall looked amused as the music rang out, as soon as they pushed the button to officially open the North London underground electricity grid, with spotlights and applause all around.
— Clarence House (@ClarenceHouse) February 7, 2018
Charles, 69 had to descend 16 flights of stairs to reach the ‘highway’. It is expected that the new system will supply approximately 20% of London’s electricity needs, utilising over 125 miles of high voltage cable.
The Prince learned that the £1 billion project has taken seven years to complete, but was completed under-budget, and quicker than originally predicted.
Meanwhile, the Duchess opted to remain overground, and was shown around a substation, which provides a view into the tunnels below. Camilla did have a look through the shaft, and waved to her husband. When asked whether she had been tempted to join her husband underground, Camilla, 70, laughed: “No I was not!”
The Prince of Wales, who has a keen interest in engineering, listened attentively as he was told about how two digging machines had been working constantly on the project since 2011 and how, when stretched, the new cables would equal the length of the M25.
The Prince told workers: “I have full admiration for you.”
After the tour and the opening ceremony, the royal couple met students at the National Grid’s education centre, set up to encourage more young people to learn STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths). Over 8,000 local students have visited the centre since 2013.
National Grid’s Chief Executive John Pettigrew remarked: “We are delighted to have been able to show The Prince of Wales how this £1 billion project has enabled us to rewire London to make sure the capital and those living in it have the electricity they need to rise to the challenges of the 21st century.”
Greg Clark, the Business and Energy Secretary also praised the project: “This important infrastructure will help increase productivity by cutting the number of road works needed for maintenance, as well as powering London with the safe and reliable electricity supplies it needs for the future.”
Finally, Charles and Camilla had a chance to talk to staff and community members at a reception to mark the opening, as well as young apprentices working on the project.
Later in the evening, The Duchess of Cornwall addressed a reception that was hosted by Women in Journalism (WIJ). The organisation is a networking and social group, that acts as a forum for all women in journalism, from veterans to interns.
In her speech, the Duchess mentioned 18th Century American journalist, Anne Royall, who is said to have forced the then US President, John Quincy Adams, to give her an interview about pensions – by sitting on his clothes that he had left on a river bank while going for a swim!
“No one knows if this story is true or not, but I hope it is,” Camilla said to the assembled guests. “I doubt it’s the best way to get an interview today but it’s a marvellous measure of female guile!”
Camilla also said: “A bold, thriving press is part of what makes Britain great, but it is vital that in stories from around the world we hear both male and female perspectives. We need to continue to take courage from great women of the past, but we also need to look to the future.
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“I am privileged to meet many amazing women in my travels around the world and I know how important it is that we hear their voices and their experiences.”