Action man Prince Andrew prepares for 1000ft abseil down London's Shard towerPrince and Ffion Hague to abseil down the 1,064ft Shard next monthExpected to raise 1million for charitySays mother Queen Elizabeth II never worries about her childrenWhen completed The Shard will be 59th tallest building in the world
19:03 GMT, 21 August 2012
There’s very little that fazes the Queen – even the prospect of her son abseiling the tallest building in Europe with only a rope round his waist, apparently.
In less than a fortnight’s time the Duke of York will lead a group of charity fundraisers throwing themselves off the new 1,016ft Shard in London.
But when asked whether his mother was at all worried about his breath-takingly scary enterprise, Andrew told The Times newspaper yesterday: ‘No, this mother doesn’t worry, based on the fact that all of her children have done exclusively mad things over a number of years and she is quite used to it.’
Prince Andrew training for hi abseilng challenge down the Shard building in September
The prince, pictured here during his
pre-descent training in Scotland, came up with the 1 million
fundraising plan in aid of The Outward Bound trust, an educational
charity of which he is chairman of the trustees.
The charity aims to help young people
realise their potential through learning in the wild – whether it be
canoeing, hill-climbing, mountain-biking or kayaking.
Andrew came up with the idea himself during a brain-storming meeting in the Yellow Drawing Room at Buckingham palace.
He recalled: ‘I’m sitting at the end
of the table, looking out of the window whilst they are having this
conversation. I suddenly noticed that this rather special building was
appearing on the London horizon.
'I said to them, why should we not do
something that is in keeping with the adventurous nature of Outward
Bound , that has the element of risk that we are particularly good at
managing That sense of getting slightly out of your comfort zone
‘I said, ‘why don’t we just abseil down the outside of the Shard’”
The Duke of York looks to be feeling the strain on the climbing wall as he trains with the Ministry of Defence
Anything mother can do I can do better: The Prince prepares to take the plunge
According to the organisers, the
enterprise will be ‘terrifying’ – not just because of the extreme
height, but because of the sensation of sliding down on glass and also
because the descent is so long that each abseiler will have to stop and
start three times.
Andrew, a former naval helicopter pilot, has abseiled before but admits that the prospect fills him with fear.
‘It’s the same for me as it for everybody else,’ he said.
‘Have you got the guts, the balls,
whatever you like to call it, to step out over the edge at 1,000ft And
the answer is, ‘we’ll see’.
The prince will be accompanied by
several leading city bankers and other trustees including Ffion Hague,
wife of Foreign Secretary William.
His Virgin Just Giving fundraising
site (find him under HRH The Duke of York or see www.descentoftheshard.com) has raised a staggering 230,000 already
including 500 from his daughter, Princess Eugenie with the message
‘Well done papa! I'm so proud of you! Xx’.
An artist's impression of what the building will look like upon completion next month (left) and during construction in April this year (right)
THE SHARD IN NUMBERS
The project has cost an estimated 440million
Once complete the Shard will be the tallest building in the European Union at 1,016ft highIt is made of 11,000 panes of reinforced glass which would cover 8 football pitches
There are 44 lifts and 306 flights of stairs
There will be 10 residential apartments over 12 floors each seven times larger than a semi-detached house
The most expensive apartment is on the market for 30million
There are 72 floors of offices, hotel rooms and viewing galleries including a 19-storey hotel
It is the 59th tallest building in Europe
It is 438ft shorter than the Empire State Building and 2,717ft smaller than the Burj Khalifa in Dubai
It overtook Canary Wharf to become Britain’s tallest tower on 25th November 2010