Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Prince and the Pole

Last night, HSH Prince Albert II was at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University, to attend a special series of lectures and gala dinner at the Scott Polar Institute in honor of the explorer Robert Falcon Scott. Scott was an officer in the British Royal Navy who led expeditions to the South Pole, was the second man to reach the South Pole after Roald Amundsen of Norway. Also attending the festivities was HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in his first public engagement since being released from the hospital for heart trouble (still doing pretty good for a man of 90). Along with the rest of those present, Prince Albert met with polar explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes who spoke about his experiences, descendants of Robert Scott were also present to discuss their famous ancestor, his life and work.

There is, of course, a tradition of interest in the polar regions amongst the Princes of Monaco named Albert. The Scottish explorer, William Speirs Bruce, who almost accompanied Scott on his famous voyage, joined Prince Albert I in some of his scientific voyages and the Prince placed Bruce in charge of the scientific observations made during his studies. Prince Albert II also accompanied a Russian arctic expedition in 2006 and became the first head-of-state and reigning monarch to reach the North Pole. In 2009 he visited Antarctica on an expedition to study the effects of global warming on the south polar region. The great concern Prince Albert II has for the environment has fueled most of his studies and interest on the state of the northern and southern polar regions.

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