PHOTOS

Shire couple takes His Royal Highness Prince Edward for a boat trip to Bundeena during Duke of Edinburgh 60th anniversary visit

A royal boat trip to Bundeena was on the Sydney itinerary for Prince Edward on Saturday.

Lilli Pilli couple Trent and Danielle Perrie-Raines plus three members of their family took the Prince by boat along Port Hacking to the Royal National Park.

Prince Edward is in Australia as part of the 60th anniversary of the Duke of Edinburgh International Award.

The Earl of Wessex, who is the third son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, is spending six days down under to celebrate 60 years of empowering young people to find their purpose, passion and place in the world.

He is the Chair of The Board of Trustees of The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award Foundation, and is attending a series of events across Sydney, Wollongong, Alice Springs and Darwin. During his time, he will recognise and thank award supporters and volunteers. The award has a volunteer network of more than 60,000.

Prince Edward caught the boat from Cronulla and made his way to the Bundeena to Otford coastal track, where he officially opened a section of the track and presented a plaque to the site. He met and spoke with several students from shire high schools who are involved in Duke of Edinburgh, including Cronulla High, where more than 150 students currently participate in the program. Students volunteer with Surf Life Saving, St Vinnies, primary school before and after school care, animal shelters, bush care and sporting clubs. Seven students from St Patrick's College Sutherland were also invited to meet the Prince.

He launched the '60th Anniversary National Trail' in The Royal National Park, where he met with award participants from diverse backgrounds, highlighting the award's commitment to being a zero barrier access program for all young people regardless of their location or circumstance.

"My husband and I had the privilege of being asked to take His Royal Highness to Bundeena by boat this morning," Mrs Perrie-Raines said. "A very surreal experience that our family will not forget."

Her husband Trent Raines, one of the directors of the Royal Motor Yacht Club, says the watery mission was top secret in the lead-up to the royal visit.

"We were contacted about a month ago through the club and had to keep it pretty quiet," he said. "They asked if we'd be interested in hosting and of course we didn't want to miss out.

"He was the most unbelievably, welcoming, genuine gentleman. I'm not necessarily a Monarchist but he was like a male version of Princess Diana.

"We were just talking about boating and holidays. He thought the area was beautiful. We went across to Jibbon Beach and he was on board with us for about 25 minutes. He was very impressed with the shire."

The Prince will thank also ambassadors, supporters and donors at a gala dinner for their generous donations that have enabled more than 5000 disadvantaged young Australians to achieve their award, including at-risk youth, those with disabilities, Indigenous youth, refugees, those on low incomes and from rural or remote communities.

He will attend the largest gold award ceremony ever held outside of the UK, at Sydney Town Hall, where he will present close to 400 young Australians with their gold awards, as well as attending a Duke 4Sport Reception at the Sydney Cricket Ground to celebrate the award's new partnerships with sporting organisations.

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