Prince Edward in Marianske Lazne

18-07-2005

The renowned Czech spa town of Marianske Lazne, traditionally known as Marienbad, was on its feet on Monday morning, awaiting the arrival of a British Royal. Prince Edward, the Queen's youngest son, is paying his very first visit to the Czech Republic and he headed straight for Marianske Lazne.

Prince Edward, photo: CTKPrince Edward, photo: CTK Marianske Lazne is a town that is long accustomed to royal visits - kings, poets and emperors wined, dined and hunted there, soothing their ailments with the curative spa waters. One of those who contributed to the town's development was none other than Prince Edward's great great grandfather, King Edward VIIth.

As a goodwill ambassador for his country, Prince Edward is attending a tournament of the Royal Golf Club in Marianske Lazne, which Edward VIIth opened exactly a century ago. Robert Simpson was in charge of organizing the royal visit and I was able to contact him in Marianske Lazne, shortly before the Prince's arrival:

Marianske LazneMarianske Lazne The Prince is arriving from London today and will be coming directly to the Golf Club. They will be out on the course as the prince arrives and he will greet each individual player competing in the tournament. Then he is expected to visit the newly designed club house that his great-great-grandfather King Edward VIIth inaugurated in 1905. So it's the 100th anniversary of the Golf Club."

What is the mood like at the Royal Golf Club now? This must be a significant event for the town.

"It's actually fascinating. I arrived last night and the whole town is talking about this visit. There's electricity going on here. They are very excited about the fact that the Prince is coming and I think it is really good for the town and the people who live here, they are very excited about it."

You mentioned that the Prince's great-great-grandfather King Edward VIIth opened this very golf club. Do you know how that came about?

"Well, from what I understand, he liked this town. He used to come here to hunt. He liked the air and the spa, the fact that the waters are very special here. That's why he came here and I guess that's how the golf club came into existence - due to his influence."

I understand that the Marianske Lazne Golf Club has also been given the privilege - by the Queen - to use the title "royal". How many such clubs are there?

"As far as I know, there are only two golf clubs outside of Great Britain that have that title."

The second day of Prince Eduard's goodwill visit will be spent in Prague where he will hand out awards to the Czech winners of Duke of Edinburgh Youth Programme and meet with Second World War veterans who fought in the RAF.

18-07-2005