Posted by Gregory Michel
The Wilmette Rotary Club was instrumental in bringing Prince Phillip to Chicago.  The story began in 1962 when a Rotary Exchange student from England was being hosted by Wilmette Rotarian ”Bud” Robson.  Twenty years later, that student (Charles De Haes) was Director General of the World Wildlife Fund.
 
There was an international movement to create a living memorial that would honor Anwar Sadat, the 3rd President of Egypt – a Muslim – as a person of Peace.  It was agreed to establish a Peace Park.  The outcome was the Ras Muhammed National Park … a Park for Peace.  The National Wildlife Federation set it aside as a sanctuary for endangered species.  Mr. De Haes’ connection with Mr. Robson of the local club in the center of the planning.
 
To make the dedication process special, it was agreed to invite the President of the World Wildlife Fund, who happened to be H.R.H. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.  A spectacular Banquet Meeting was arranged in Chicago in November of 1982. Wilmette Rotarian Don Olson coordinated this amazing event.
 
There were 800 attendees at the banquet.  This was, of course, before computers were in widespread use, so table assignments had to be made with individual cards on a ping pong table.  The Security people wanted to know who was sitting where, and next to whom.  The Irish Republican Party was a security issue at the time so that complicated planning as well.