Queen Elizabeth\'s youngest son, Prince Edward.

Queen Elizabeth's youngest son, Prince Edward.

Today, March 10 (1964), marks the birthday of HRM Queen Elizabeth II's third son, Prince Edward, a full-time working member of the Royal Family. Here are some interesting facts about the Earl of Wessex you may not know. 

Who is Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex

The Earl of Wessex is the youngest child of The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh and a full-time working member of the Royal Family. He supports Her Majesty in her official duties – often alongside his wife The Countess of Wessex - as well as undertaking public engagements for a large number of his own charities. His work has a particular focus on the development of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award, from which he has taken over many responsibilities from his father.

The Earl carries out a busy schedule of engagements in support of a large number of charities. His Royal Highness is especially passionate about organisations and causes which provide opportunities to young people.

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The Duke of Edinburgh's Award

Founded by Prince Philip in 1956, The Duke of Edinburgh's Award is a flexible programme, which helps young people to develop skills for life and work. The Earl of Wessex has been deeply committed to the organisation's work since achieving his own Gold Award in 1986. The following year, His Royal Highness became a UK Trustee of the charity and of the International Award Association and was chair of its International Council for 17 years.

Since 2015, The Earl has been Chairman of the Trustees of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation. In these roles, The Earl travels widely within the United Kingdom and overseas, attending events and presenting Gold Awards. In 1999, he established the International Special Projects Group, to broaden the reach of the Award, especially to young people considered to be at risk or marginalised in society.

In 2016, The Duke of Edinburgh's Award celebrated its 60th anniversary, with The Earl of Wessex playing a leading role. Over the past six and a half decades, almost 2.5 million young people have achieved Awards. There are currently one million participants in the initiative.

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The Earl and Countess of Wessex Trust

In 2019, the Wessex Youth Trust was renamed The Earl and Countess of Wessex Trust. Having met the charity’s original objective – supporting and advancing organisations which provide opportunities for children and young people - the Trust will now broaden its charitable endeavours beyond youth-focused initiatives and will focus on developing strong relationships with a selected group of charities.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex founded The Wessex Youth Trust Shortly before their marriage, in 1999. It offered grants and support to charities helping young people. The Trust benefited a broad cross-section of youth-oriented causes, including hospitals and hospices, child protection and drug-prevention schemes, inner-city drop-in centres, sex education initiatives, special educational needs libraries, sports facilities and arts groups. The Wessex Youth Trust distributed over £2.5 million to over 180 causes during its two successful decades.

Sport and the arts

As a keen sports fan, The Earl is associated with a number of official bodies. He is Patron of Paralympics GB and Vice Patron of the Commonwealth Games Federation. He also serves as Patron of Badminton Scotland, The Tennis and Rackets Association and The International Real Tennis Professionals Association. His Royal Highness is President of the Sport and Recreation Alliance.

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. Whenever possible, His Royal Highness greatly enjoys attending plays and concerts.

Military appointments

The Earl of Wessex supports the work of the Armed Forces both in the United Kingdom and abroad, holding a total of eight Military appointments.

In 2007, The Earl of Wessex became Royal Colonel of 2nd Battalion The Rifles following the reorganisation of the Infantry. He regularly visits the Battalion at their base in Northern Ireland and has visited them on several occasions while on operational duties, including in Afghanistan.

His Royal Highness is Royal Honorary Colonel of the Royal Wessex Yeomanry and The London Regiment and meets servicemen and their families whenever possible.

In 2006, The Earl was appointed Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and in 2008, Honorary Air Commodore of Royal Air Force Waddington.

The Earl holds three military positions in Canada, as Colonel-in-Chief of the Hastings and Prince Edward Regiment, the Prince Edward Island Regiment and the Saskatchewan Dragoons.

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This information was provided by Royals.uk, connected to Kennsington Place, who deal with the Royal Family's press needs.