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Their Royal Highnesses visit Louisville, Kentucky

21st March 2015

The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall during a visit to the Kentucky African American Heritage centre in Louisville on the final day of their visit to the USA

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali welcomed Their Royal Highnesses Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall to his home city of Louisville - describing The Prince of Wales as "the greatest".

The sport star's words came in a letter - not in person - as he was not well enough to join leading figures from the city at a cultural greeting for The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall. 

But the presence of the three-time former world heavyweight boxing champion was still felt when a letter written by him was read to their Royal Highnesses.

The 73-year-old sports star, considered by many to be the greatest boxer of all time, retired in 1981 and has suffered with Parkinson's disease since the mid-1980s.

At the Kentucky Centre for African American Heritage - a stone's throw from Ali's childhood home - Louisville's Mayor Greg Fischer welcomed the royal couple.

They had toured stands showcasing the state of Kentucky and Louisville's heritage, culture, history and sustainability projects.

Mr Fischer reading Ali's words said: "(My wife) Lonnie and I welcome you to our hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, USA. We are honoured that you have come to explore, share and learn about new sustainable initiatives that are so close to your heart."

The former sportsman could not help mentioning the state's successful college basketball team which is on a long winning streak.

Ali added: "Louisville prides itself on being a compassionate city and we are confident that you will leave feeling a sense of our southern hospitality, caring for the environment, and yes - our love for college basketball.

"As you travel back to your homeland, we hope you know how much this city respects and admires the many contributions you have made in the world.

"We think you are the greatest.

The Prince and The Duchess continued their tour of Louisville with visits to local charities, initiatives and events. 

Her Royal Highness visited Neighbourhood House, a centre which provides services for young and old members of the local community. During her visit, she saw the work of the Four Seasons Programme, providing support for seniors in the community, the Youth Learning Labs and the Child Development Centre. 


The Prince of Wales talks with the Mayor of Louisville, Kentucky, Greg Fischer (centre) and Dr. Aruni Bhatnagar (front left) from the University of Louisville Department of Medicine at the Big Four Bridge in Louisville, Kentucky

Later in the day, The Duchess visited the Food Literacy Project in Oxmoor Farm, where students are given the opportunity to learn more about the food sources, nutrition and health. 

Her Royal Highness also attended a reception for The Brooke, a charity dedicated to improving the lives of working horses, donkeys and mules across the world. The Duchess has been President of the charity since 2006, and helped to launch The Brooke USA during her latest visit. 

The Prince of Wales also attended numerous engagements in Louisville, including a round table discussion on local agriculture, and a visit to the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Here, His Royal Highness found out more about the work the local organisation has done in supporting the preservation of local heritage. 

Joined by Dr Ted Smith, Executive Director of the Institute for Healthy Air, Water and Soil, His Royal Highness also visited the Big Four Bridge. Here, he met with members of the local community who have been active in initiatives to help tackle air pollution. 

His Royal Highness also attended an interfaith round table meeting at The Cathedral of the Assumption, followed by a symposium on health and the environment. 

The Prince of Wales delivered a speech to an audience of community, business and faith leaders. 

Keep up to date with all the news from Their Royal Highnesses’ visit on our #RoyalVisitUSA tour blog.

A speech by HRH The Prince of Wales on Health and the Environment delivered at The Cathedral of the Assumption, Louisville, Kentucky.

Published on 20th March 2015

Ladies and gentlemen, it has been an immense pleasure to spend our last day in the United States here in Louisville, guided by a very special lady.  Christy Brown, if I may say so, is one of the most remarkable people I have come across; a true force of Nature, with an unbounded enthusiasm to bring people together across a whole range of important issues, and with the determined tenacity to make things happen.  I know from my own experience, it is very hard to say "no" to Christy Brown!  It was she who asked me to articulate the principles of harmony which I have long believed to lie at the heart of how we respond to the immense challenges and dangers facing humanity. So I can only hope you are all prepared to put up with such articulation.

I must say, it is also very special to have been introduced by such a great advocate of harmony, Wendell Berry, who I am incredibly touched said those wonderful words about me. He is a very special son of Kentucky. I only wish I had time to visit his farm. I will now embarrass him by telling you that he has long been a hero of mine.  I remember him once describing his farm here in Kentucky.  Half of it, he said, sits at the top of a hill and the other half at the bottom, which, as he put it, "is what you call a learning situation..."  Now, to return to Christy's request -

In the 1960’s, as I remember so well, a frenzy of change swept the world in the wave of post-war “Modernism.”  There was an eagerness to embark upon a new ...

Read full speech