The Duke of Edinburgh Award is the catch-all term for a series of programmes designed to help adolescents and young adults develop and improve themselves, utilising a method described in Kurt Hahn’s “Six Declines of the Modern Youth”. Since its inception by Prince Philip, the eponymous Duke of Edinburgh, in 1956, the Award has expanded to include no less than 144 nations under the umbrella Duke of Edinburgh International Award Foundation, many of which still refer to the programme as the Duke of Edinburgh Award even if the country in question has since severed its ties to the House of Windsor, or was never under the authority of the British monarchy to begin with.
It’s undoubtedly one of Prince Philip’s proudest achievements and has helped change and improve the lives of countless young people across the globe.
Now ITV is currently developing a documentary based on the scheme, and the actual Duke of Edinburgh’s work with the programme. It marks the celebration of over 60 years of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards and its impact on those who have undertaken it. Starring This Morning star Philip Schofield, it seems the TV presenter is greatly struck by Prince Philip’s personality and his capacity to keep up with his royal duties even at 95 years of age.
“There were days when I was shadowing him and talking to people he had spoken to and by the end of it, my feet were bloody killing me,” he was reported to have said about His Royal Highness’s work ethic. “[…]He’s sharp as a tack, his memory is fearsome, his humour is razor sharp, and he was extraordinary in the amount of time he would spend with people.” Schofield attributed the Duke’s energy to “extraordinary James Bond-esque genes.”
Schofield was also struck by Prince Philip’s sense of humour, with the Duke playfully exclaiming “Bloody hell, not you again!” at the This Morning‘s presenter’s constant presence by His Royal Highness’s elbow.
Currently operating under the working title “When Phillip Met Prince Philip: 60 Years Of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award,” Prince Philip reflects on his experiences setting up and running the award at the age of 35, and how the programme has developed since its early years in the late ’50s. No release date has been confirmed yet, with ITV merely saying that the documentary will be broadcast “later in the year”. As a further way to mark the Diamond Anniversary of the Award’s operation, a special Diamond Challenge is also being issued by the Foundation.
The Chief Executive of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, Peter Westgarth, commented, “The documentary is a fantastic opportunity for us to reflect on these past successes but also to showcase the positive impact of the DofE on today’s generation and the potential for generations to come, helping young people to be happy, healthy, socially conscious and more employable.”