The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, established in 1956 by Prince Philip, is a youth awards programme that recognises the achievements of teenagers and young adults from 14 - 24 in completing several self-improvement exercises. The Award has three progressive levels, which upon completion reward participants with a Bronze, Silver or Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
The Award follows a four section format for each level of achievement: Volunteering, Physical, Skills and Expedition. At Gold level, an additional Residential section must also be completed, where participants stay and work away from home for five days to work on shared goals. After achieving their Gold Award, participants are invited to attend a Gold Award Presentation with a Member of the Royal Family to receive their certificate. Each section is designed to enable participants to improve and attain essential skills to help them navigate adult life.
Initially announced in 1956 as a programme for boys aged 15 - 18, the success of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award quickly saw it expanded as larger groups of young people were invited to join. The first Gold Awards were achieved in 1958. From an initial enrolment of 7,000 people in the first 12 months of the programme, participation in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has grown each year.
As of March 2020, over 6.7 million Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards have been started, with over 3.1 million Awards having been achieved across all levels. Although the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award began as a UK specific programme, it has now expanded to include 144 nations around the globe.
To celebrate the legacy of Prince Philip in establishing the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and inspiring young people across numerous countries and generations, the programme has asked past participants to share their memories of the Award to help inspire future generations to take part.