|ITV/Duke of Edinburgh Award|
You might be wondering why I'm posting on the documentary. It turns out, whilst the Duchess was not interviewed, she very briefly participated in the documentary sharing her experiences gaining her DofE. I was surprised on social media that many royal fans don't know Kate achieved her gold Duke of Edinburgh's Award, which reportedly involved a four-day hike, during her time at Marlborough College. Interestingly, Kate's short contribution wasn't promoted in the media, and I wasn't aware of it until Kensington Palace shared this tweet earlier today.
Watch @DofE awards holders incl. The Duchess of Cambridge and @ParalympicsGB @HCDream2012 share their #DofE experiences @ITV 9pm #WeAreDofE pic.twitter.com/iOFsqcF4zj— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) 12 December 2016
Filmed at the Buckingham Palace Team GB reception in October, the Duchess wore a bespoke floral-print McQueen dress and chatted with a group of Olympians who all achieved their award. Kate recalled hiking in the pouring rain: "I can remember trying to cook bacon in the soaking wet. Everything was just sopping and I was trying and trying to cook bacon. I remember saying you know what, I think we're just going to have plain sandwiches. Bread, basic bread and butter." Kate then asked the Olympians: "Have you all used it and fallen back on the skills you learned from it?"
The documentary revealed Kate received her award nearly 20 years ago at St James's Palace. Little did she know at the time the Duke would one day be her children's great-grandfather.
The Duchess and Prince Philip chatting with the Olympians.
In a press release shared by Palace, the Duchess described obtaining the award as "one of the most memorable experiences from growing up":
"I started my Duke of Edinburgh's Award while I was at Marlborough College, completing my Bronze before getting my Gold Award while I was in the sixth form. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is such a great way for young people to grow in confidence, learn new skills, work as part of a team and have great fun along the way. While getting my Gold Award was challenging at times, it is one of my most memorable experiences from growing up, and I could not recommend it more highly."
I still cannot believe Prince Philip is 95! The documentary was everything one would expect from the ever-witty and always-humorous Prince. Her Majesty has referred to her husband as her "strength and stay", and over the decades they have remained steadfast and wholly dedicated to the monarchy. Apart from supporting the Queen and carrying out numerous solo engagements, Philip has created quite the legacy of his own: the Duke of Edinburgh's Award. The Telegraph has described the award as "arguably the most successful enterprise set up by any member of the current Royal family".
From small beginnings in 1956, the 'D of E', as it is commonly known, was launched. It was at first "for boys" aged 15 to 18. In the beginning it was administered, and largely designed, by John Hunt, who had led the first successful climb of Everest in 1953, and had retired from the army to run the Duke of Edinburgh's Award. It was designed to attract boys who had not been interested in joining one of the main British youth movements, such as the Scout Association. It was not necessary to 'join' any organisation, or wear a uniform to participate. In the first 12 months, 7,000 boys had enrolled for the scheme. The programme borrowed from the Moray Badge, instituted at Gordonstoun School by its headmaster, Kurt Hahn, in 1936, and the County Badge adopted in Moray in 1941. In November 1957 it was announced that girls would be invited to participate. On 19 June 1958 the award was extended to girls, with the first girls allowed to join from 1 September 1958. The programme for girls was not the same as that for boys, and was for ages 14 to 20. The first girls received their Gold Awards on 3 November 1959 at Buckingham Palace. From January 1965, the Gold Award for boys and girls was made more similar. The first Gold Awards were achieved in 1958, and the charity was established in 1959. A single programme for young people aged 14 to 21 was launched in 1969, and extended to those up to 25 years of age in 1980.
More on the Awards programmes from Wikipedia:
'The Duke of Edinburgh's Award programmes take between one and four years to complete, and they must be completed by the participant's twenty-fifth birthday. There are around 300,000 participants annually. The programmes are at three progressive levels which, if successfully completed, lead to a Bronze, Silver or Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
With assistance from adult Leaders, participants select and set objectives in each of the following areas:
Volunteering: undertaking service to individuals or the communityPhysical: improving in an area of sport, dance or fitness activities.Skills: developing practical and social skills and personal interests.Expedition: planning, training for and completion of an adventurous journey in the UK or abroad.
At Gold level, participants must do an additional fifth Residential section, which involves staying and working away from home for five days, doing a shared activity.
To achieve an award, the participant must work on each section for a minimum period of time, and must be monitored and assessed by someone with knowledge of the chosen activities. Each progressive level demands more time and commitment from participants: Bronze 3–6 months; Silver: 6–9 months; Gold: 12–18 months. Participants are required to show regular activity and commitment to the award for the duration of their DofE programme, which is usually at least one hour per week.'
More from the Duke of Edinburgh's Award website: "Since its creation in 1956 by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh KG KT, the DofE has gone from strength to strength. Guided by the same set of principles and by young people themselves, it’s as relevant today as it was then. A flexible programme that helps to develop young people for life and work, the numbers speak for themselves: 93% of participants feel that DofE has helped them to work in a team and 84% feel that they have become a more responsible person. From 1,000 DofE Awards achieved in year one to 119,892 last year, we have both a rich history and a bright future. Why not let our timeline and our young people tell you more?"
I very much enjoyed the documentary - the inside clips, interviews and commentary. Presenter Phillip Schofield revealed he would take part in a wing walk to raise funds for the DofE. Philip, in typical style replied: "Who's trying to get rid of you? Are you going to stand there on the wing and say 'hello folks'? I wouldn’t open your mouth if I were you." The popular This Morning presenter described the royal as "sharp as a pin". You can donate to Philip's JustGiving fundraising page here.
Actress Joanna Lumley has know the Duke for years revealing a funny story: "He is very, very interested in art. I think he’s a fine painter. One of the paintings that he showed me I loved and he’d done it himself. He was dismissive. I said: 'Sir, I wonder if when you shuffle off the mortal coil whether that would find its way into my hands?' Schofield interjected, saying: "What!" Lumley, smirking, head in hands, added: "I don’t know how I had the nerve. Well I wanted the painting. I liked it so much. I wanted it. What impertinence. I think he is an extraordinary character. He rides, sails, drives horses, fishes and swims and does stuff. He really could have been James Bond, actually. And he was a naval commander as well, like Commander Bond. He is good fun to be around but he is quite shy. I think sometimes at some huge event I have seen him say, 'Oh God, I have to do that'. But then he puts his head up, chin out and goes and does it."
The Countess of Wessex, who is a Global Ambassador for the DofE Award, and recently undertook her own challenge - cycling from Scotland to London to raise funds in celebration of the award's 60th year - gave a candid interview describing her father-in-law as a fantastic partner for the Queen: "He has been a fantastic life partner for her. I think it's maybe a fairly lonely job being queen. As a female in the top job I think to have somebody you can lean on, you can discuss things with, she can be honest with behind closed doors... I don’t think she could have chosen better. And they make each other laugh, which is half the battle, isn't it?" Describing his role as a grandfather: "He's wonderful, he takes a real interest in the children."
Prince Edward also gave an interview, saying his father "never talks about himself". "He’s got a brilliant mind. He's always amazingly innovative so people would come with ideas to suggest to him and he'd always turn them into something 10 times better. He said his father described the DoE Award, which involves sporting, volunteering and physical challenges, as a "do-it-yourself kit for growing up, which everybody always sees as a bit flippant but, actually, it is true." Below, we see the Earl receiving his Gold Award from his father.
Another enjoyable moment was seeing home movies filmed by the Queen in the 1960s, which show the Prince as a young man playing with his children at Balmoral, the Queen's Scottish estate, and aboard the royal yacht Britannia. I've always felt Prince Philip is likely someone Kate looks to, as she too will be consort one day, and can no doubt draw upon his decades of experience and ability to travel through royal life with indefatigable humour. When asked if he encouraged his children and grandchildren to take part in the award, the Prince replied (in true form): "It’s up to them. I’m not going to twist their arm." :)
The documentary is now available to watch on YouTube. Click here to view it. Kate's part begins at about 37 minutes in.
Next, we'll see a documentary called Prince Harry in Africa, on Monday 19th December, ITV 1 at 9 pm. A documentary following the Cambridges would be a stellar addition to the wonderful programmes made covering key members of the Royal family. Perhaps with a focus on the Heads Together campaign and breaking the stigma surrounding mental health. I do hope something is in the planning! :)
We'll see you on Wednesday when the Duchess attends a special Cub Scout Pack meeting with King's Lynn District cubs to celebrate 100 years of Cubs.