What a day! Your correspondent was on the ground in Louisville, Kentucky to cover the visit by Their Royal Highnesses the Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. The day was set to start at the African American Heritage Center, in the Portland neighborhood of Louisville.
As with other royal visits that have been closely watched thanks to social media, we soon found that there was to be a delay and it turned out to be a rather massive one. The royal couple arrived at 2pm…well after the time they were set to depart for other engagements but that seemed to change little in terms of what the Prince of Wales took time to do. Inside the royal couple was greeted by the strains of “My Old Kentucky Home” by the Louisville Youth Choir. And even though they were running about 2 hours behind schedule they still took time to visit with many of those who had booths and exhibits at this welcome event, and almost to a vendor they were described as “more laid back than we expected”. After visiting with exhibitors in the “Harmony Village” they made their way to a conference area where they heard remarks from Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, as well as by Gov. Steve Beshear. The couple was also treated to the Louisville Orchestra performing “Kentucky Royal Fanfare”, a piece commissioned for this visit.
A letter to the couple by Louisville’s native son, and boxing great Muhammed Ali was also read…The Greatest himself referred to His Royal Highness as “the greatest” and at that point there may not have been many dry eyes in the room. The Royal couple quickly departed at that time and the schedule was PACKED.
The Prince of Wales took part in The Agriculture Round Table. Participants in the discussion were drawn from across Kentucky and beyond and include a wide cross-section of people involved in the food and agricultural industries. At the same time, the Duchess made a visit to The Neighborhood House in the Portland neighborhood of Louisville. While visiting The Neighborhood House, Her Royal Highness played with babies, read to toddlers, chatted with teens and played bingo with a few of the more mature citizens, all of whom are served by Neighboorhood House which sees its mission as “to provide opportunities for individuals to enhance the quality of their lives”
After this the Prince headed to Old Louisville and the Ferguson Mansion where the city was honored for their work in the area of historic preservation. He also stopped by the Big Four Bridge where a group of approximately twenty-five experts from a variety of environmental and health backgrounds were taking part an in-depth discussion about the interconnection between human health and the natural environment.
The Duchess, meanwhile, was headed to Oxmoor Farm to learn more about The Food Literacy Project. She got her hands dirty here, planting veggies and talking to the children who were harvesting different crops to be used on freshly made fire-baked pizza for lunch. Everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves.
At this point in the day the Prince of Wales headed to The Cathedral of the Assumption where he took part in two roundtable discussions. One of the roundtables focused on the role of business in making healthy communities, and the other was an Interfaith roundtable. Each one lasted about ten minutes. After this His Royal Highness gave a speech which was the keynote address to a two day symposium.
While the Prince of Wales was at the Cathedral of the Assumption, the Duchess of Cornwall was at Churchill Downs where she met with Louisville-favorite retired jockey Pat Day and several of the animals at Churchill Downs.
Afterwards,she attended a private reception to launch Brooke USA with staff from Brooke USA, The Brooke UK and donors…your humble correspondent was escorted inside the Churchill Downs complex and straight upstairs and inside the event…where I had the chance to say hello to the Duchess as she arrived.
I need to take a moment to say, I could not have done any of this nor would I have the photo above without the help of my best friend and personal aide / photographer for the day, Lisa Corpus. Lisa and I have been friends for longer than she might care for me to mention here and in that time we’ve had some really fun adventures but this one is one we are not certain we will ever be able to top.
To end his night, the Prince of Wales made a speech at the Cathedral of the Assumption, in which he had some high praise for Louisville:
“So, having spent the day here in Louisville, I can only offer my warmest congratulations not only for what you have already achieved, but also what you are striving for in the future – a model of truly integrated and holistic thinking on a city scale and a beacon of inspiration for others to learn from – for instance, your work in helping build communities such as at the African American Heritage Centre, the boldness of the vision for the Food Hub project (why wouldn’t we all want to shorten the links between consumer and producer?); the remarkable potential of a new discussion between the health insurance companies and your major food companies who, of course, would love to become more sustainable if only the financial climate allowed them.”
He ended by saying something that makes people think:
“We are, Ladies and Gentleman, at an historic moment – because we face a future where there is a real prospect that if we fail the Earth, we fail Humanity.”
And something that reminds this Royal Reporter that we have something very exciting coming soon:
“And I don’t know about all of you but, as a grandfather, I have no intention of failing my, or anyone else’s, grandchildren.”
Note the plural there.