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By By Laura Elston, PA Court Reporter
The Earl of Wessex is to host four celebratory events over two days in the Buckingham Palace garden for new Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award holders (Yui Mok/PA)

Festival-style celebrations for 12,000 young people will be held in the Buckingham Palace garden next week.

The Earl of Wessex will host four celebratory events over two days for new Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award holders – the first time their achievements have been formally recognised since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Edward, trustee of the youth scheme set up by his late father, the Duke of Edinburgh, will be joined by stars including Strictly Come Dancing’s Johannes Radebe during the first celebration on Monday.

The lawn at Buckingham Palace (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

TV explorer Ben Fogle, actress Nina Wadia, and entrepreneur and former Apprentice winner Tim Campbell – who are all award holders – will be among those giving talks on satellite stages around the garden.

Edward, the Queen and Philip’s youngest son, will meet Gold Award holders who have shown creativity, resilience and determination to achieve their awards despite challenges and restrictions during the Covid-19 crisis.

Buckingham Palace said the special events on May 16 and May 20 will see the gardens of the Queen’s official residence “transformed into a festival-style celebration” with the guests having the chance to “take part in a range of lawn games and activities”.

At the start of each event, guests will be invited to gather around the West Terrace Steps for the National Anthem and to hear a series of speeches from inspirational individuals and DofE alumni.

Strictly star Johannes Radebe will join Edward for the celebration (Ian West/PA)

More than 330,000 young people worked towards their DofE Awards during the first year of the pandemic, and volunteered more than 1.8 million hours in their communities, often helping the Covid relief effort.

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The DofE self-development and adventure award scheme is open to any young person aged 14-24.

Those taking part build their own programme – picking activities and choosing which cause to volunteer for – in order to achieve a Bronze, Silver or Gold DofE Award.

Gold Award ceremonies at the Palace had to be postponed in 2020 and 2021 due to the spread of coronavirus.

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Dive Deeper:
Why is the Queen not doing the Queen's Speech and what will happen instead?
Buckingham Palace has confirmed that the Queen will not be opening Parliament this year - it means Prince Charles will…
Charles and Camilla host Buckingham Palace garden party as Queen misses out
As many as 8,000 guests were in attendance for the first garden party at Buckingham Palace since the Covid pandemic
Sophie dances up a storm with Rob Rinder at Liberation Day tea in Guernsey
The royals visited Guernsey and Jersey as the Channel Islands marked their Liberation Day.
Charles and Camilla host first Buckingham Palace garden party since 2019
Guests including Sir Chris Whitty and 11-year-old fundraiser Tobias Weller braved the rain on Wednesday.
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Charles and Camilla brave rain to step in for Queen at first garden party in three years
Prince Charles was joined by wife Camilla and his sister Princess Anne as he hosted the first garden party at…
UK weather: Partying Brits to sizzle in 'very warm' Queen's Platinum Jubilee weekend
Millions of Brits are excitedly looking forward to the Queen's Platinum Jubilee weekend celebrations which long range Met Office forecasts…
Get all your news in one place