The Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward, a member of Britain's royal family, paid a special visit to Istanbul's only school for orphans on Thursday.
Edward, the youngest child of Queen Elizabeth II, was at the Darüşşafaka Education Institution in the province's Maslak district to attend the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award Program founded by his father.
Turkey first hosted the U.K. awards program, which encourages educational achievement and citizenship, in 1995; Darüşşafaka has been a member of the scheme since 2005.
Prince Edward thanked the people who organized the program and congratulated the children who won awards.
During his speech, the prince told the assembled children to seek opportunities: "Life is full of challenges, we know that, but it is also full of opportunities."
He also thanked local educators for their help in developing children's characters and their individual skills: "You are all ambitious for the young people you work with."
The prince, who is the head of several children's charities in the U.K. - including the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain and Creative Youth - was invited to Turkey by the Turkish Human Resources Education and Health Foundation (TİKAV).
Principal Nevzat Kulaberoğlu described the school, which has almost 1,000 male and female pupils, aged between 10 and 19, as a unique institution in Turkey.
Kulaberoğlu said Darüşşafaka, since joining the Duke of Edinburgh scheme in 2005, had seen 281 students already graduate from the scheme.
Prince Edward spoke with some children and had a tour of the school, which includes Darüşşafaka Museum, Fatin Gökmen Observatory and Fatin Gökmen Planetarium.