Prince Charles has expressed his gratitude to astronaut and Prince’s Trust ambassador, Tim Peake, via a letter tweeted by Clarence House in the early hours of yesterday, 15 May 2016. The letter—printed on headed Clarence House notepaper—was sent via Twitter because, as Prince Charles said, ‘knowing that the Royal Mail operates in entirely different space, I have been told you are keeping up communications with Planet Earth via Twitter, so I thought I might try this method to send you my kindest wishes and appreciation’.
Addressed from ‘ground control to Major Tim’—a play on the fictional astronaut referenced in the late David Bowie’s songs ‘Space Oddity’, ‘Ashes to Ashes’ and ‘Hallo Spaceboy’—the light-hearted letter was in recognition of, and thanks for, Peake’s work as an ambassador for The Prince’s Trust.
Peake was announced as an ambassador for The Trust in November 2015 ahead of his trip to the International Space Station in December. His involvement in the organisation, which helps young people find opportunity and success regardless of their social background, aims especially to highlight the work The Trust does to help young people acquire science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills. From the Prince’s Trust website: ‘STEM is vital to the economic future of the UK, and STEM skills are more in demand than ever in the work place’.
Prince Charles thanked Peake ‘for being such a splendid ambassador for my Trust’ and said that ‘My Trust could never have achieved so much over four decades without the remarkable commitment of generous people like yourself, so I am more grateful than I can possibly say’.
He also expressed delight and astonishment to have learned that Peake ran the London Marathon in space to promote The Trust along with seventy-four members of ‘Team Astronaut’. Prince Charles called it ‘a brilliant idea that was truly “out of this world…!”’ and praised Peake for setting an inspiring example to the next generation.
The Prince’s Trust was founded by Prince Charles in 1976 with a goal to help give young people the chance to succeed by giving them an opportunity to unlock their potential. According to the official website (princes-trust.org.uk) The Trust’s free programmes ‘give young people the practical and financial support they need to stabilise their lives’ by helping them to ‘develop key skills while boosting their confidence and motivation’. Now the UK’s leading charity for young people, The Prince’s Trust has helped over 825,000 young people since its inception and will be celebrating its 40th anniversary this week with a special Garden Party for the organisation’s ambassadors, volunteers, supporters and a group of individuals who have been helped by The Trust over the years.
The Prince of Wales also tweeted a post script to his letter, adding ‘Ps. Good luck in your final month aboard @Space_Station. Everyone back home on Earth is looking forward to your safe return’.