Prince Charles has been declared the "Londoner of the Decade" by the UK"s Evening Standard. The honour came as a surprise to the royal, but given his tireless work promoting the best of Britain and its capital city, it was an entirely fitting accolade.
The Duke of Cornwall received his award at a star-studded ceremony at the Science Museum on Wednesday evening (Sept. 7), where he was recognized for both his campaign and charity work; over the past 10 years, The Prince's Charities has raised more than $2 billion.
Accepting the honour, Charles told the audience: "I am most touched, and indeed surprised, that the Evening Standard should have decided to give me the award of Londoner of the Decade.
As I suppose I have spent most of my life trying to propose and initiate things that very few people could see the point of, or, frankly, thought were plain bonkers at the time, perhaps some of them are now beginning to recognize a spot of pioneering in all this apparent madness?"
He continued: "Starting my Duchy Originals food company 25 years ago was a case in point. When we launched the first organic oat biscuit there were tabloid headlines saying 'A shop-soiled Royal.'
"People now tend to understand the point of, and enjoy, the organic food they once thought of as bonkers twenty-five years ago – and, through Duchy Originals, I have so far given away more than £14 million [$28 million] to charitable causes.
"In 1976, I set up The Prince's Trust amidst social unrest and high levels of youth unemployment, and in 1983 we launched a business start-up plan. Again, people thought I'd gone mad – more mad – to try and give grants to ex-offenders and other disadvantaged young people.
"But, since then, The Prince's Trust has supported over 825,000 of those vulnerable and disadvantaged young people to overcome their challenges, move into education or work or their own enterprises – saving the public purse £1.4 billion [$2.8 billion] in the process," he said.
"In London itself, I am incredibly proud of the team which, last year alone, helped some 5,000 young people to defeat unimaginable personal odds by offering them training or helping them start their own businesses or learn new skills.
"These are all characters who other people had for some reason simply written off as unlikely to amount to anything. Well, I remain adamant that everyone can amount to something provided they are given help building vital personal traits such as self-confidence and self-esteem."
The Progress 1000 is an annual event hosted by The Evening Standard in partnership with Citi to celebrate key influencers in London. At the event, the Prince mingled London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who was named Londoner of the year.