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Prince reveals at awards service how he inspired teen pole dancer

By Harriet Line

The Earl of Wessex has told of how he encouraged a Duke of Edinburgh's Award participant to take up pole dancing, during a service of thanksgiving to celebrate the project's diamond anniversary.

Prince Edward, who joined his parents the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh for the celebration at Westminster Abbey, said he was having lunch with a group of gold award participants when one girl told him she really wanted to learn pole dancing.

He told the congregation that it "seemed to me at the time, if that's what this young person wanted to do, then why not?

"So I told her to go for it; isn't that what the Duke of Edinburgh's Award is all about?"

He went on to say that he received a letter some time later from the same girl, who did go on to learn to pole dance, thanking him for inspiring her to "fulfil my goal and to overcome my doubts".

The Earl praised his father during his address at the 60th anniversary service for his "concern for the welfare of young people and desire to encourage their development".

During the service impressionist Jon Culshaw gave a reading and Paralympic gold medallist Hannah Cockroft told how the award had given her her "independence" in using a wheelchair.

The Paralympian said the award taught her "not to give up" and encouraged her to reach her potential.

The Queen, who was wearing a purple crepe coat and matching hat by Angela Kelly with an amethyst shield brooch, sat next to the Duke of Edinburgh and listened to the readings and prayers at the Abbey.

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