I just wanted to say that I am so pleased and grateful for all of you that you have been able to join this gathering, which I feel is rather important, because it seems to me that so often we fragment the way we look at life too often. And one of the things that I have always felt was intriguing about my great great great grandfather, Prince Albert, when he created Albertopolis around here, was that he felt so strongly about the arts and sciences operating in harmony together. And I think since those days we have tended to split all these things up and only think about things in separate compartments.
So the fact that you’ve all come together to discuss what I think is a very important aspect of our lives, particularly in terms of developing the real potential and skills that lie in so many people that are so often undiscovered and unreleased, which is one of the things I’ve been trying to do for the last 42 years through The Prince’s Trust, and also through my Teaching Institute and Children and the Arts, which I set up some years ago, again to try and address this huge gap. But I think the other thing, apart from the joy of all the arts really, and I try to paint very badly and all that kind of thing, it’s a very good discipline. It makes you look and I think half the problem nowadays is that not enough people are encouraged to observe and really look. My grandmother used to encourage me to look. I remember her taking me to the Royal Opera House at the age of seven, and I’ve never forgotten seeing the Bolshoi Ballet perform. Cracking whips, Tatar dances, Cossack, every kind of thing I tell you, age seven!
As a result I’ve been passionate about the Royal Opera House and it’s extraordinary, I know that so many actors and actresses and musicians are there because they’ve had either a grandmother or a grandfather or teacher, very often it’s the teachers at school, who inspire them to take an interest. And as a result, we in this country have a fantastic reputation as a country through its creative industries. We don’t realise enough, I don’t think, how much those creative industries contribute to our whole economy and if you’re thinking in just purely economic terms it’s worthwhile. But also in terms of, as Lord Lloyd Webber and others have been saying, in terms of developing the whole person and having a real understanding about life. The arts and the creative sides are vital, so of course are engineering skills and all these things but we mustn’t see things in separate compartments. So I hope that as a result of everybody coming here today we might be able to understand the need we have in this country to ensure these things are joined up and operating in harmony. Thank you Ladies and Gentlemen.