Ladies and Gentlemen, I am delighted to welcome you all to St. James’s Palace for this third presentation of The Prince of Wales Medal for Arts Philanthropy.
Can I just draw attention to the harpist here? I just wanted to say that I’m very proud of the fact that I managed to reinstate the position ‘Harpist to The Prince of Wales’ which had gone out altogether for a long period of time. The harp here is a wonderful example of philanthropy at work because it was sponsored by the great harp company in Italy called Salvi and is used by harpist and is used by my harpist in all sorts of different places. So I hope it has helped a little bit to contribute to a real revival and appreciation of the great art of harping.
In the years since the inception of these medals we have seen philanthropy becoming even more important, as public funding is reduced. The Government, I am told, is placing considerable emphasis on philanthropy, as the Secretary of State has been reminding me this evening, and, as President or Patron of over 100 arts organisations, I have some experience of the benefits to both sides of robust philanthropic partnerships and the contribution they make to the cultural life of this Nation.
As you will see, this medal is designed to honour arts philanthropy of all kinds. It has an ambitious aim, which is to inspire everyone to think of giving to the arts by shining a light on the remarkable work that is already taking place. This is why we have expanded this year’s celebration event beyond those who are being presented with medals to include many other inspirational figures without whom I suspect a tremendous amount of life-enhancing work would simply not be possible.
A great many of you in this room today act as beacons of generosity and commitment that can spark philanthropic endeavour in others. I rather wonder whether such a large and distinguished group of philanthropists has ever actually been gathered in one such place before. So from that point of view I think it is a remarkable event and slightly different from the first three events, which were all rather small affairs in Clarence House next door. I can only thank you my heartfelt thanks for all that you do as philanthropists whilst also saluting the indefatigable arts organizations who perform so brilliantly as your partners.
My thanks also go to the Selection Panel, who had probably remained nameless this evening, but to whom we owe an enormous debt of gratitude and to Arts & Business for administering the Awards so efficiently.
Finally, ladies and gentlemen, I am sure you would also wish to join me in congratulating this year’s medallists. We honour you for your philanthropy and trust that your great example will indeed be an inspiration to others.