Prince Edward, 56, is Prince Philip, 99, and Queen Elizabeth II’s, 94, youngest child and a key working member of the monarchy. As well as providing vital support to the Crown, the Earl of Wessex is in charge of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme (DofE) – a successful youth project established by his father in 1956.
In a recent interview, Prince Edward spoke about the importance of outdoors education schemes like the DofE during the pandemic.
The Earl told Sky News projects like DofE are “more important at this present time than ever before”.
Speaking about the planned reopening of schools in England on March 8, Prince Edward added: “We mind desperately about trying to help them catch up with their academic career, but at the end of the day we’re talking about what can we give young people at this time that’s really going to help them in the future – and how are they going to be ready for the world. And that’s not just about academics.
“I think the role of the non-formal in this present climate is going to be even more important than ever before because it’s those skills and experiences which are going to be looked for.”
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Later on in the interview, the Earl said: “We know that if you give young people those challenges, that they do respond positively and they will come up with the ideas.
“They will come up with the innovation and the imagination to see us through – and that’s the really positive thing about it.”
While Edward is doing an exemplary job of promoting and protecting his father’s legacy, a language analyst has claimed he was at one stage an unlikely candidate for the role.
Language expert and author Judi James analysed Edward’s latest interview and told Express.co.uk that it was “deeply ironic that Edward should be the one taking over the legacy of his father’s cherished Duke of Edinburgh scheme.”
According to Judi, Edward’s decision to ditch his military training in order to pursue a career in the arts meant he was a “disappointment” to his father.
She said: “Of all his four children, Edward was always the one assumed to be Philip’s greatest disappointment: the one who fled the Marines training for a career in the theatre, apparently making his father apoplectic with rage, and the one who brought further criticism for trying to compromise his family’s privacy via his TV shows.”
The language expert claimed Edward has undergone something of a transformation in recent years and is now considered “a safe pair of hands” among senior royals.
Judi added: “But following a few twists of royal fate it is now Edward emerging as the safe pair of hands in terms of the royal legacy, with his happy, long-term marriage to his very popular wife Sophie and his low-key, more accessible demeanour that might be all the more successful in modern life than the more old-school, military approach of his siblings and his father.”
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The language expert touched on her own experience of the DofE award and claimed Prince Edward may make a less-intimidating poster boy than his famously brusque father.
She said: “When I took my own DOE silver medal years ago I breezed through all the youth hostelling and other physical challenges but I was too shy and terrified to go and accept the award from Prince Philip himself.
“Edward’s speech patterns and his choice of words here though suggest a much less daunting approach.
“Edward has chosen to sound collaborative and even slightly in awe of the young people doing the DOE scheme, more like a supply teacher than a frontline leader as he offers encouragement and motivation along with a touching sense of faith that they are the generation that will make things work despite the pandemic.”
According to Judi, the Earl of Wessex’s laidback use of language sets him apart as a modern royal.
She said: “Edward’s collaborative and slightly more back-seat approach sounds clear from his first words here.
“‘We’re talking about what we can give young people…’ suggests discussions and meetings as a group rather than the traditional banner-waving approach, and the emphatic, double use of the word ‘We’ places Edward into part of a team rather than a distanced figurehead.
“His words ‘what we can give young people’ suggests flexibility rather than solutioneering, too, implying the scheme will be flexible in terms of suiting current needs.
“It also makes Edward sound rather humble, emphasising the idea that it is his job to enrich the lives of the young people in the scheme rather than send out orders.
“This wording hints that although he is taking over from his father he is also determined to make any changes necessary to the work, rather than leaving it untouched as a homage.”