Prince Edward arrives in Philly for 2-day visit
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – More than 100 cheering students waving U.S. and British flags welcomed Prince Edward on Thursday at Girard College, a private boarding school for low-income children.
The youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II, and seventh in line to the British throne, is in Philadelphia for 2 days of events to mark his mother’s 60 years as British monarch.
Applause greeted his silver Range Rover led by a police motorcade through the ornate iron gates of the stately campus, which edges a gritty neighborhood north of downtown Philadelphia.
After speaking briefly with a group of children, he went inside the school’s pillar-edged Founder’s Hall for a private reception and luncheon with officials and students involved in a youth development program started by his father, the Duke of Edinburgh.
He later was joined by two students, the school’s president and Mayor Michael Nutter to plant an “Elizabeth” magnolia tree honoring the Diamond Jubilee of his mother. The prince’s great-great-grandfather, who would later be crowned King Edward VII, planted two trees at the school during what was the first royal visit to the U.S. in 1860.
“This is a historic occasion for us,” Nutter said, “and certainly a wonderful treat for our young students.”
The prince seemed to be taken by surprise when he was called to the microphone to speak, jokingly saying “I love surprises” then briefly stating that he hoped it wouldn’t be another 152 years until a member of the royal family visits the school again.
Not a college as its name suggests, Girard College provides free tuition, housing and meals to first- through 12th-grade students, primarily from single-parent families.
It was founded in 1848 with a bequest from wealthy Philadelphia financier Stephen Girard.
Edward’s current tour of the United States also includes stops in New York, Chicago and Birmingham, Ala.