Born to Be King: Prince Charles on Planet Windsor by Catherine Mayer

Born to Be King: Prince Charles on Planet Windsor by Catherine Mayer

Author:Catherine Mayer [Mayer, Catherine]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: Biography & Autobiography, Europe, Great Britain, Historical, Nonfiction, Presidents & Heads of State, Retail, Royalty
ISBN: 9781627794398
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Published: 2015-02-17T05:00:00+00:00


Helping and Hindering

“You need to listen to each other. It’s respect,” says team leader David Tovey. A girl raises her head from the table and stares at him with kohl-rimmed eyes. “I wasn’t talking,” she says. “I was sleeping. You lot are waking me up.”

That’s the central purpose of the twelve-week Team Program, the seventy-fourth run at this location, in Merton, South London, and of every program and project run by the Prince’s Trust: to wake people up, then to provide them with the tools to realize their potential. Seventeen-year-old Tanya Djemal knows that, even as she puts on her small show of defiance. She is beginning to think she might harbor ambitions in the longer term to go to college, she says in a voice so small that the whirr of an overheated computer threatens to drown her out. Her acting up in front of the group masks a crippling timidity that complicates one of the tasks the Trust has set participants: to secure a three-week work placement. The Team Program is aimed at sixteen- to twenty-five-year-old NEETs—the reductive acronym denotes young people Not in Education, Employment or Training; by the end of the course, they will hopefully be moving toward college, apprenticeship, or a job. Djemal recoils from the idea of interaction with children. Her work experience must involve “food or animals,” she says.

For her and the thousands of others who pass through the Prince’s Trust programs in Britain every year—58,804 in 2013–2014—the placement will provide a glimpse into a world that seemed beyond reach, in which life isn’t just about survival but holds the possibility of love and friendship and personal development and professional achievement. “I came to the Prince’s Trust to get a brighter future and to change my past,” says twenty-year-old Matt Jelinek, who spent the first half of his life in Poland and the second being bounced around the English education system and excluded from three schools. Everyone has different stories about how he or she arrived at the Prince’s Trust, but all the narratives describe alienation and exclusion.

Jelinek and Djemal and their fellow participants, encouraged by Tovey to function not as competing individuals but a cooperative unit, are beginning to taste the unfamiliar sweetness of belonging. Tovey has already helped them to bond during a week at an adventure center in the Peak District. For several of their number, it was the first time they ever ventured beyond city limits. Tovey, a former advertising executive who retrained as a teacher and Prince’s Trust Team Leader, laughs remembering the fascination sheep held for these children of grubby suburbia, then grows serious as he talks about a hike up the famous moorland plateau Kinder Scout and a tranquil moment with Jelinek as they stopped to admire the view. “Matt was telling me how amazing it was to get away from everything to center himself. If he gets nothing else from these 12 weeks, he’s got that.”

Not one among this recent intake to the Prince’s Trust has linked the organization to a real live Prince.


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