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Montevideo, September 20th 2018 - 12:57 UTC

Patagonian Village thrust into World Headlines

Tuesday, December 12th 2000 - 20:00 UTC
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The tiny Southern Chilean village of Tortel, unheard of by anyone outside this isolated part of Patagonia, has suddenly been thrust into the news spotlight in Britain and around the world.

It is where 18-year-old Prince William, elder son of Prince Charles, and a future King, has spent a rough and challenging ten weeks in one of the world's remotest regions, in company with 110 other young men and women from all over the world working on environmental, community and adventure projects organised by Raleigh International.

Now his activities there have been captured on television and in dozens of photographs carried by the world's press, focusing on a tiny community of only 350 people, with no roads, no cars, and access only by boat and plane. Tortel, situated on a Patagonian fjord nearly one-thousand miles (1,600 kilometres) south of Santiago, is a collection of scattered wooden bungalows, with only three telephones and a limited power supply. Here Prince William was hidden from the glare of publicity until one British television cameraman and a Press association reporter and photographer were given access to him.

Their reports show Prince William working hard, building overhead wooden walkways for the village, and taking his turn with fellow ventures in the chores of daily living, chopping and sawing wood --- lighting a stove in the early morning, cooking porridge which he managed to burn, and cleaning the toilets. He is also shown acting as a music disc jockey.

Far from his usual life of palaces and privilege, Prince William clearly enjoyed the companionship of his fellow adventurers from all walks of life, with very different backgrounds. He got on very well with the local Chilean people, especially the children with whom he is shown playing games, singing and dancing. He also helped to teach them English, having studied Spanish at college back in Britain. He is shown disclosing to the Chilean children his mother's favourite nick-name for him, "Wombat", a small Australian animal, which he drew on the nursery school blackboard.

One six-year-old boy, Alejandro Heredia, took a special liking to him and is pictured on newspaper front pages being given shoulder rides by the Prince, and tugging his hair. William described Alejandro as "So bossy -- he treats me like a horse!".

Just as the children were delighted with him, he was impressed by them." I have not been that close to children ",

Categories: Falkland Islands.

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