HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh to visit to The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award Foundation

Published: 4 Mar 2014

HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh: (c: The British Monarchy)

Staff at The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award Foundation (the Foundation) and The Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) will be opening their doors to two very special guests in March.

HM The Queen, in her role as Head of the Commonwealth and Patron of the RCS, and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, Founder of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, will visit the charities' headquarters in London. They will learn more about the work of the Foundation and the RCS and how their programmes help to empower young people in the Commonwealth and beyond.

A global Award

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh founded The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award in 1956; the Award has since spread to more than 140 countries and territories.

On HM's first visit to the Foundation, The Queen will have the opportunity to learn more about the Award and how it is transforming the lives of individuals and their communities. The Queen and The Duke will also be given an insight into how the world of digital technology is breaking down barriers and enabling the Foundation to reach more young people from diverse backgrounds.

“We are extremely thrilled and privileged to welcome HM The Queen and our founder, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, to the Foundation’s head office,” says John May, Secretary General of the Foundation.

“The Foundation works to grow the Award worldwide and to increase the diversity of its participants, particularly reaching out to those who will benefit most from participation. Often these young people are on the margins of society.

“Work that we are doing now will ensure that more young people have access to this tried and tested framework of non-formal education that has time and time again proven to transform the lives of individuals and their communities. This is all of course thanks to the vision of our patron.”

Commonwealth connections

The RCS recently moved into Award House, premises that the Foundation has occupied since 1996. Michael Lake CBE, Director of The RCS says, “The Royal Commonwealth Society has undergone a transformative twelve months. As we embark upon this exciting new stage in the life of our organisation, we are delighted to be sharing the newly refurbished Award House with The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation. Like them, the focus of our work is very much on young people and on offering them the inspiration and confidence to fulfil their dreams. As compatible organisations with complementary remits, it is my firm belief that we can live together with greater efficiency than apart.

“The Society plays an important role in championing the values that underpin the Commonwealth and that lend the association its unique purpose in the contemporary world. And HM The Queen, in her role as Head of the Commonwealth and as the Patron of our Society, is a lasting inspiration.”

The visit to Award House will form part of a momentous week for The Queen and The Duke as their youngest son will be celebrating his 50th birthday on March 10th. Prince Edward, The Earl of Wessex, an Award holder himself, is a trustee of the Foundation and is actively involved in ensuring it is inclusive to all.

Two days before HM meets with staff at the two charities, The Queen will also attend the annual Commonwealth Day Observance at Westminster Abbey, which is organised by The Royal Commonwealth Society. 

Further information: