School Reporters land exclusive interview with birthday boy Prince Edward

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In the interview, featured on BBC Breakfast on the Earl's birthday, he revealed the most memorable event of his life was his wedding day

Hove Park School and Sixth Form Centre students Poppy, Aisha, Amy and Ruben were amazed when they secured an exclusive interview with the Queen's youngest son, the Earl of Wessex, for BBC News School Report.

It was the only interview he gave to mark his 50th birthday.

"It all began last November, when we spotted that Prince Edward had his 50th birthday the same month as the School Report News Day," said Poppy.

"As the prince is involved with the Duke of Edinburgh's Award and the Paralympics, we felt he would have lots to say to young people."

The students rang Buckingham Palace press office to request the interview, and were told to write to the prince.

In the New Year a phone call from the prince's private secretary was made to the school's headmaster, Mr Trimmer, telling him that the prince was impressed with the students' letter and that he was happy to give them an interview at Buckingham Palace.

Image copyright BBC SCHOOL REPORT
Image caption Prince Edward was presented with a birthday card designed by a Year 7 student
Image copyright BBC SCHOOL REPORT
Image caption The four School Reporters were both excited and nervous about meeting the Earl Of Wessex

Aisha, one of the junior reporters to write to the prince, said: "When we wrote the letter, we were expecting a polite 'no'. It felt incredible and unreal when we heard it was 'yes'".

"Our family and friends were really happy for us," said Poppy. "Everyone knew immediately that this was not an everyday event but one to cherish."

Aisha added: "The reaction of many of the other students and teachers at the school was either 'no way!' or 'wow!' It really was something very special."

"The day was just amazing," commented Amy. "We went through a rollercoaster of emotions, from excitement to nervousness, before we even got there."

Image copyright BBC SCHOOL REPORT
Image caption The decor inside the palace "was incredible - so royal," said School Reporter Ruben

On arrival at the palace, the students felt like real VIPs as they left the tourists behind at the railings and walked in through the front door.

The interview was conducted in a grandly decorated room, close to the famous balcony from where the Royal Family wave to the crowds.

"Just being there was amazing!" said Ruben, who was the cameraperson. "The Earl was so warm - he immediately put us at our ease."

The students discussed with Prince Edward his active role in The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme.

He told them journalists did an important job in "capturing the stories of those whose lives were turned around by taking part in the DofEA, so that these stories could encourage other young people to take part to change their own lives."

And regarding his role as patron of the British Paralympic Association and the Winter Paralympics in Russia, the prince said the athletes taking part were a "fantastic bunch of people who were great fun to be around".

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School Reporters prepare for special royal visit

The four School Reporters also raised the delicate topic of the prince's impending "big five-0" on 10 March. They said he was a little coy and said he wanted to "play it down and hoped to spend it quietly" but he went on to say "that there would be very little chance of him doing so".

Amy said the prince also revealed the best moment of his life so far had been his wedding day, which he described it as a total one-off and was "great fun and over far too quickly".

He also admitted to getting the odd detention at school, but couldn't remember why and "not regularly - I hasten to add".

The interview lasted around 30 minutes, at the end of which the students presented the prince with a birthday card of a picture of Brighton, designed by Ruby, a Year 7 student at the school.

The students were buzzing with excitement when they left the palace.

"It was really good fun and the d├ęcor was incredible - so royal," said Ruben.

Amy added: "I'm trying not to boast about it but it was an amazing, once in a lifetime experience."

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