Prince Edward, the Earl and the Countess of Wessex arrived in the island on Sunday, March 2, 2014 for a four-day Working Visit.
Their Royal Highnesses participated in activities related to the Duke of Edinburgh Award in Jamaica.
As the Trustee of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Foundation and Chair of the International Council, the Earl met with the Board of Directors of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award International, Jamaica. The Board is chaired by Professor Derrick McKoy, of the University of the West Indies, Mona.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is the world’s leading achievement award for young people, bringing together practical experiences and life skills to create committed global citizens and equipping young people. It is awarded to young people between the ages of 12 and 24, who learn to work as a team. They are also required to complete activities in four areas for a specified period, including an adventurous expedition, skills and physical recreation.
The Award was founded in 1956 by His Royal Highness, the Duke of Edinburgh, and now operates in 144 countries, including Jamaica. Since its inception, over seven million persons around the world have participated in the Award.
Some of the other activities that their Royal Highnesses participated in during the visit included a courtesy call on the Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, who was also Patron of the Award in Jamaica; tours of the UWI Sports Medicine Facility, the University of Technology (UTech), the Bustamante Hospital for Children and the Bustamante Museum.
They also visited the Jamaica Defence Force Headquarters, Genesis Academy, Holy Family Primary and Infant Schools and the Portmore HEART Academy. Their Royal Highnesses departed the island on March 5.
The Earl of Wessex was born on 10 March 1964 at Buckingham Palace, the third son and fourth and youngest child of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh.
Baptised Edward Antony Richard Louis in the Private Chapel at Windsor Castle, His Royal Highness was known as Prince Edward until his marriage in 1999, when he became The Earl of Wessex and Viscount Severn. The last person known as ‘Earl of Wessex’ was Harold Godwinson, prior to his accession to the English throne as King Harold II in 1066.
Prince Edward and Miss Sophie Rhys-Jones were married at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, on 19 June 1999. Upon their marriage Miss Rhys-Jones became known as Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex.
The Earl and Countess have two children: Lady Louise, who was born on November 8, 2003 and James, Viscount Severn, who was born on December 17, 2007.
The Earl of Wessex carries out a full schedule of royal duties on behalf of The Queen. His Royal Highness is involved with 79 organisations and holds 8 military appointments.
The Earl plays a very active role in The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award both as a UK and International Trustee, and as Chairman of the International Council, the operating authority which controls the programme and standards in 140 countries.
In 1999 he established the International Special Projects Group to provide a capital fund to broaden the reach of the Award by supporting young people at risk around the world.
His Royal Highness is passionate about organisations that provide opportunities for young people. He has been deeply committed to the work of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme ever since he achieved his Gold Award in 1986. His duties as a United Kingdom and International Trustee mean that he travels widely in Britain and overseas promoting and supporting the Award. He also presents Gold Awards to achievers across the globe.
The Earl also has a strong personal interest in the Arts and is Patron of a number of organisations within this area. These include City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, London Mozart Players, Windsor Festival, Haddo House Choral and Operatic Society, Northern Ballet, National Youth Theatre of Great Britain, National Youth Orchestras of Scotland and The Orpheus Centre Trust.
He also enjoys a range of hobbies including music, gardening, sailing and tennis when time allows.