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‘That’s families for you.’ Prince Edward discusses the Sussexes, the bereaved Queen and his father’s legacy

The Queen’s youngest baby, 57, appears to be in good spirits on this superb summer season day in London regardless of the event. Thursday would have been the one centesimal birthday of Edward’s father, Prince Philip, and he’s marking the date by reflecting on the Duke of Edinburgh’s legacy and his eponymous Award program.

Headlines probing the relationship between the Sussexes and the remainder of the household have been frequent since the couple relinquished their roles as working royals final yr and relocated to California. Responding to a query about present household tensions, the Earl says the state of affairs is “very sad.”

“Listen, weirdly we’ve all been there before — we’ve all had excessive intrusion and attention in our lives. And we’ve all dealt with it in slightly different ways, and listen, we wish them the very best of luck. It’s a really hard decision,” Edward says.

Harry and Meghan have usually spoken about the pressures of royal life and being continuously scrutinized by the media. In a bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey in March, the Duke stated the relentless scrutiny was one in every of the deciding components in the household’s transfer to the United States. In her dialogue with Winfrey, the Duchess additionally revealed she had contemplated suicide throughout her first being pregnant and that there had been questions over the pores and skin colour of their then-unborn son, Archie.

Edward says he hopes the couple are glad earlier than returning to the topic of the rift, suggesting disagreements occur in each household.

“It’s difficult for everyone but that’s families for you,” he says.

For a number of causes, it has been a difficult few months for Britain’s royal household, who’re nonetheless mourning the lack of their patriarch in April. Due to Covid-19 measures at the time, the funeral preparations have been significantly scaled again by royal requirements, and the variety of attendees restricted to simply 30 individuals.

“It was an experience that so many other families have had to go through during this past year or 18 months and so in that sense, it was particularly poignant,” says Edward. “There are an awful lot of people who haven’t been able to express the respect that they would like to have done. I think many people would have liked to have been there to support the Queen.”

The Queen carries on

Following the Queen’s lead, as at all times, senior royal members of the family have since returned to their duties and are as soon as once more fulfilling a busy schedule of video calls and in-person engagements.
Asked how the 95-year-old monarch is faring following the lack of her husband of 73 years, Edward responds that she is “actually doing remarkably well.”

“I think that it was a fantastic partnership, but over the last couple of weeks, life has got considerably busier. Things are beginning to open up more, there are more activities so weirdly that sort of fills any particular void,” he stated.

The monarch visits the HMS Queen Elizabeth ahead of the ship's maiden deployment on May 22, 2021 in Portsmouth, England.

“I think there are going to be other times further along the year where I think that it will become a bit more poignant and a bit harder. But at the moment, thank you very much indeed for asking, I think that everybody’s in pretty good shape really, and just working rather too hard.”

“Rather too hard” could also be one thing of an understatement. The monarch — regardless of her advancing age — has constantly maintained a demanding diary in recent times. Even earlier than the coronavirus upended life in the UK final March, she had carried out 296 engagements between 2019 and 2020.

Unable to do all the pieces herself, the monarch leans on a number of generations of shut members of the family to finish greater than 3,000 engagements each at dwelling and overseas annually.

President Biden and Queen Elizabeth to fulfill

Edward and his spouse, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, are more and more enjoying a extra energetic position in supporting the Queen following Harry and Meghan’s relocation to California, in addition to Prince Andrew’s withdrawal from public duties over his affiliation with convicted intercourse offender Jeffrey Epstein.

“Trying to be there as a friendly ear at times is, absolutely, is really important,” Edward says.

One vital assembly on the Queen’s books this week is her first face-to-face with US President Joe Biden, who’s in Britain for the newest G7 summit. Their assembly on Sunday will likely be the first between the two leaders since Biden took workplace in January — and he will likely be the 14th US commander-in-chief with whom she’s met.

Edward says the get-together is a “perfect opportunity” for the pair to fulfill.

US President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive aboard Air Force One at RAF Mildenhall, England on Wednesday, ahead of the G7 summit in Cornwall.

“We’ve all, as a family, had very close links with America. We spent or we used to, not so much now, but we used to spend a lot of time going backwards and forwards, maintaining those links, the connections, the heritage … (we’ve) been through a lot together. And that’s what really good friendship is about.”

What the pair will focus on is anybody’s guess, together with his. The undeniable fact that conversations with the monarch keep personal on this day and age “is a bit strange,” Edward says.

“People really do respect the fact that this is a genuinely private, off-the-record conversation so they really can talk about things and get to the heart of things and in a very genuine fashion, because they know it’s not going to come out.”

Philip and the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

Instead, what the royals have at all times made positive to champion publicly is their dedication to public service, an space wherein Prince Philip was one thing of an innovator. Arguably his biggest achievement was his Duke of Edinburgh’s Award — a youth growth program he established in 1956.

“It’s a framework of activities. It was said to encourage young people and adults to get involved in non-formal activities or out-of-classroom learning,” Edward says. “And of course, it empowered both adults and young people to take control of their destinies, and it doesn’t matter where in the world that young person or that adult is, it’s the same.

“And therefore the purpose why I feel it is unfold to 130 international locations, and it is doing significantly effectively in the States. It was a little bit of a late begin over there however it’s good. And what’s actually thrilling about what is going on on in the States is that just about 50% of the individuals concerned are from what we’d name in danger or marginalized, deprived younger individuals, which is, which is good as a result of these are younger individuals that may actually profit from this.”

The Duke of Edinburgh attends the Presentation Reception for The Duke of Edinburgh's Gold Award holders in the gardens at the Palace of Holyroodhouse on July 6, 2017 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Many of the program’s alumni converse fondly of their experiences.

“What I actually preferred about it’s that the award is so diversified, there’s so many alternative parts to it,” says Kristina Ayanian, a 24-year-old senior listings analyst at NASDAQ, who holds a Bronze, Silver and Gold Award from The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award.

“One of the highlights that I had was volunteering at my native meals pantry from my Bronze Medal Award, and seeing how meals insecurity is so distinguished in our lives. That connection to giving again to my neighborhood actually stayed with me.”

Ayanian has since continued her work with hunger relief, setting up a food drive in Boston when the pandemic struck, working with local businesses and individuals to support shelters and hospitals in the city.

“I partnered with firms, distributors, eating places, and devoted people actually to do our half in serving to our neighborhood throughout these making an attempt instances. But all of it stems from this award and the affect that it actually made on my life,” she says.

‘It was about other people’

Ayanian says the program’s present-day international reach is an important part of Prince Philip’s legacy.

“He has made such a affect on, not solely youth in the UK, however globally, and I feel that that is what’s so spectacular with his work,” she says. “I really consider in the Award, that it may hold succeeding and hold having representatives to hold it on via future generations. And I’m proud to be part of his legacy. It’s actually an honor.”

One representative continuing his Award journey is 19-year-old Víctor Echániz. Part of the program for the past five years, the Berklee College of Music double major student is also currently serving as an Alumni Award Leader at the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award USA while completing his own Gold Award level.

“For me it is one in every of the greatest issues you are able to do as a younger grownup,” Echániz says. “You additionally go on these adventurous journeys the place you get to work in your management, in your staff constructing, and in your exploration, and hunt down new passions.”

He says he’s grateful that the Duke of Edinburgh created the program. “He will go down as somebody who has helped thousands and thousands of younger adults rework themselves and grow to be higher individuals and conscious residents.”

Prince Edward and his father, the Duke of Edinburgh, in 2018.

Edward, too, sees his father’s legacy in the many lives he quietly helped to alter.

“He was at all times, at all times extremely self-effacing wasn’t he? It was about different individuals. He simply gave them the nudge, the encouragement and off they go,” he says. “And tragically, it wasn’t till he handed away that everyone went, Wow, that is what he did. And in fact, it is too late — (he) by no means discovered. But then, I believe that if he had made it to his one centesimal birthday, loads of that will have come out, and it will have been pretty to for him to have heard it himself.

“But then again, because he was just so self-effacing, he just wouldn’t have wanted the fuss and the bother … that wasn’t him, that was just not him at all.”

CNN’s Matthew Brealey and Luis Graham-Yooll contributed to this report.

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