On the day that his “black spider memos” were due to be published after a lengthy court battle, Prince Charles took his mind off the furore with a trip to east London.
He opened the new Prince’s Trust Morgan Stanley Centre in Poplar which aims to tackle youth unemployment. He was joined by another couple of VIPs – TV’s Ant and Dec.
The prince was stalked all day by the media keen for a reaction to the revelations contained within private letters to government ministers written 10 years ago and the cause of a decade-long legal battle over disclosure.
His visit to east London was a surprise. He told the youngsters: "The key fundamental that the trust does is to build self-confidence and esteem. It provides opportunities for you to discover what your particular talents and potential may be. Then the trust can fit that to skills, training and other opportunities."
More welcome was the attention by flag-waving pupils from the nearby showpiece St Paul’s Way Trust school. He also met young people which have been helped by his charity the Prince’s Trust in the centre funded by Canary Wharf-based Morgan Stanley, whose staff raised £1.5million.
Dermot Finch, director for the Prince’s Trust in London, said: “East London has a bright future and lots of talented young people, but thousands of young people in Tower Hamlets and neighbouring boroughs are still unemployed.
“Our new Prince’s Trust Morgan Stanley Centre will help to connect local young people to the job opportunities across east London, including in Canary Wharf and Stratford. With the help of some fantastic local partners – and the amazing support of Morgan Stanley employees - we are committed to supporting young people fulfil their potential.”
The prince took part in a range of activities – from helping to cook a vegetable stir fry to watching a superhero themed task - which help young people to build their confidence and team-building skills.
Afterwards, the Prince chaired a discussion with a group of young people about the challenges faced by young people growing up in east London.
Currently, more than one in five young people (22%) in Tower Hamlets are unemployed. Across east London, more than 21,000 young people are struggling to find work.
Colm Kelleher, CEO of Morgan Stanley International, said: “Morgan Stanley and its employees have been proud to partner with the Trust for the past two years to create this lasting legacy for future generations of young people in east London.
“We look forward to continuing to work alongside the Prince’s Trust through employee engagement and volunteering opportunities.”
Tanguy Viaud, 25, from Newham, took part in the discussion with the prince. When he was younger, Tanguy fell into drugs and criminality but turned his life around.
He approached The Prince’s Trust and joined the charity’s Get Started With Fashion course. After the course, Tanguy had the opportunity to pursue a highly selective men’s tailoring apprenticeship on Savile Row, where he remains.
He said: “Growing up in east London, I knew too many young people like me who felt hopeless about the future, struggling with difficult situations and not knowing where to turn for help.
"The centre is amazing because it gives young people here a place to go and people they can rely on for support. It’s going to make a massive difference to people growing up here.”
The visit was filmed for a new ITV documentary, presented by duo Ant and Dec, who are following the prince s as he looks forward to the 40th anniversary of The Prince’s Trust. The 90-minute special will air on ITV in 2016, the year The Prince’s Trust celebrates its 40th anniversary.