“Cheers” – Prince Edward meets with Czech president in Prague

Prince Edward in the village of Vestec near Prague

Less than three weeks after the coronation of Charles III, Czechia has received its first visitor from the British royal family, H.R.H. Prince Edward. The prince, who drank a pint with Czechia’s President Petr Pavel on Tuesday, is in Prague to present the Duke of Edinburgh award to young people who have successfully completed the programme in Czechia.

Prince Edward, currently the 13th in line to the British throne, first greeted Czechia’s President Petr Pavel at an informal meeting shortly after arriving in Prague on Tuesday. The Czech head of state tweeted the word “cheers” and a picture of the two enjoying a glass of beer in Malostranska beseda, a popular restaurant in Prague’s Old Town district.

Prince Edward in the village of Vestec near Prague | Photo: Michaela Říhová,  ČTK

An official reception within the premises of the Throne Room of Prague Castle then took place on Wednesday morning. The duke subsequently travelled to the village of Vestec near Prague, where a special tree-lined avenue was established last year to commemorate what would have been his father Phillip’s 100th birthday. According to Prince Edward’s schedule, he is set to plant a tree himself there in memory of his father, one of whose most lasting legacies was the creation of the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

Edward, who took over the title of Duke of Edinburgh from his father after Phillip’s death will be presenting the highest, gold level of the award to 42 people in Czechia later in the day. The ceremony is set to take place within the premises of the Czech Senate.

The award, which is aimed at helping young people improve, learn new skills and make friends,  was first brought to Czechia in 1995. It has since expanded to more than 320 schools across the country with around 7,000 students competing for it annually. The Duke of Edinburgh Award gives young people between the ages 14 to 24 the opportunity to create their own list of physical, learning or volunteering goals that they want to achieve within a space of up to 18 months.

Prince Edward and Czechia’s President Petr Pavel | Photo: Kateřina Šulová,  ČTK

While little information has been disclosed regarding the specifics of the discussion that President Pavel and the Duke of Edinburgh held, Czech Television noted that young people were also a topic on the list of Mr Pavel’s manifesto ahead of being elected president. The retired general said that he was in favour of lowering the voting age to 16 and has been making time in his schedule to meet with students while visiting the country’s regions since the election. He also intends to prepare a special communications strategy aimed at deepening interest in politics and pressing social issues among members of the young generation, the country’s public broadcaster reports.

On Thursday the prince plans to lay a wreath at the national memorial commemorating the victims of the so-called “Heydrichiáda”, a period of an especially intense and brutal Nazi crackdown on Czech resistance shortly after two Czechoslovak soldiers, trained in Britain, managed to assassinate the acting governor of what was then occupied Bohemia and Moravia in 1942. The memorial stands on Prague’s Resslova street, by the Church of Saints Cyril and Methodius where the soldiers subsequently hid and were eventually killed after being attacked by Nazi troops.