In 1988, having sold Quinta do Lago to a consortium of British investors, I accepted an invitation from Sir Frank Lampl, the Chairman of the Bovis Group, to come to London as the Managing Director of Bovis Abroad, which developed resort projects in various locations. Frank was a Czech survivor of Auschwitz, and we developed a close friendship as I am a refugee from Poland to Brazil.
Bovis was an early supporter of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Association and Frank, knowing my interest in youth development, suggested that I become a Fellow.
The following year, having successfully restructured La Manga, the largest resort development in Spain, I returned to Portugal. Shortly after, I received an invitation from Dom Duarte, The Duke of Bragança, who started the Portuguese version of the Award, to meet Eric Koops, the Honorary Chairman of the International Award, who suggested that I become part of this organisation. As they say, the rest is history.
It was very interesting to meet HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, and I proceeded to observe this fascinating personality for the last 32 years.
The first conclusion was that, contrary to general opinion, instead of being somewhat bothered by walking two steps behind Her Majesty, Prince Philip, who was born into royal families, was proud of his role of consort and protector of the most powerful royal in the world.
As the father, he was both a disciplinarian and a moderniser of the royal household, adjusting it to the evolution of society. The problems arising from the divorces in the family were similar to those of many families in the western world, including my own.
The creation of the Award Scheme was The Duke of Edinburgh’s brilliant project, again here adjusting traditional values to modern times. The success of this endeavour is an unparalleled achievement, having contributed to the character and self-confidence of millions of young people in over 120 countries.
In over 30 years, I have had numerous occasions to observe HRH as a symbol of royalty in constructive action.
One of the most elegant men I have met, his presence in a room responded to his evident empathy and interest in people, which always impressed the men and enchanted the ladies.
I will certainly remember one of the most notable personalities I have had the honour and pleasure of meeting and whose creation is in the good hands of his son, HRH The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex.
André Jordan is accredited for inventing the concept of the luxury golf resort development sector in Portugal and is often regarded as one of the most important personalities in the history of the country’s tourism sector. In November 2020, he launched a second edition of his autobiographical book entitled ‘Uma Viagem Pela Vida’ (A Journey Through Life).
By ANDRÉ JORDAN