The Duke of Kent recorded a special New Year’s message for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, an organisation of which he is President and which has enjoyed a royal patron since its founding in 1824.
Prince Edward’s video message was uploaded to the Royal Family social media accounts and reads:
“We look back on a year in which every member of the RNLI will have been constrained from meeting friends and family. Without modern technology, communication would have been incredibly difficult and I am grateful that the same technology offers me the opportunity to send a personal message of gratitude to you.
“This year has been unusually demanding and I want to congratulate everyone who works or volunteers for the RNLI on your unfailing spirit of service.
“We often use the word ‘courage’ at the RNLI; our lifeboat crew displays it regularly and we certainly owe those volunteers special thanks for continuing to launch, even throughout a health crisis.
“But courage can have many forms, and I know that every member of the RNLI will have shown it in different ways during the past year all in the cause of saving lives at sea.
“It is due to you, the members of the RNLI, that we are on course to finish the vital projects that had to be paused last year. We can also look forward with confidence to further fundraising campaigns and events in the 2021 calendar.
“My warmest good wishes for a very Happy New Year to you all.”
The RNLI works to help prevent drowning and saves lives at sea, working 24/7 and using a fleet of over 400 lifeboats. Since 1824, the Institution has saved over 143,000 lives.
The first royal patron of the RNLI was King George IV, who served in the role from 1824 to 1830. Since then, the RNLI has enjoyed the patronage of an unbroken line of monarchs or consorts, culminating with the current royal patron, Queen Elizabeth II, who has served in the role for 69 years.