Prince Edward is set to make a special TV appearance today to mark the 60th anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
The Earl of Wessex will be hosted by the BBC’s Countryfile presenter Helen Skelton as he hikes along the Pennine Way in the Peak District, where he will also be joined by a group of young competitors looking to win in this year’s expedition.
Discussing the award, Prince Edward, a DofE trustee and gold winner in 1986 said, ‘’You can do it bit by bit and in your own time but the object of the exercise is to try to introduce you to other types of activities.”
The DofE, which was founded by Prince Philip in 1956, recognises adolescents and young adults for completing a series of self-improvement exercises, which include volunteering, physical and skills development and expedition. The Gold level requires contestants to complete an additional residential section that involves working away from home for five days.
Asked where he sees the DofE in 60 years, the ninth to the throne replied, “Definitely still here. I think there is going to be a continuing need for the DofE to help young people to develop and to push the boundaries. But if there was one ambition then it would be that any young person can do it if they want to.”
Prince Edward’s wife, the Countess of Wessex, is one of several high-profile challengers supporting the award in its Diamond Anniversary. She will cycle from the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh to Buckingham Palace in London over seven days in September as a show of support.
The DofE is currently run in 141 countries across the world. It has grown steadily over the years, with over 253,000 young people embarking on a DofE programme in 2015/16.
Countryfile will be aired on BBC One at 5.30pm today.