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Prince Leads Traders Down London's Tallest Tower in Shard Abseil

Royal Prince Leads Traders Down Tallest Building in Shard Abseil
The Shard, left, is 1,016 feet tall and is named for its tapering glass-clad icicle shape. Photographer: Jason Alden/Bloomberg

The son of Queen Elizabeth II will abseil down Western Europe’s tallest skyscraper on Monday, racing traders, marines and the wife of the foreign secretary.

A charity event will see Prince Andrew, also called the Duke of York, suspended by wire more than 1000 feet (305 meters) above the south bank of the Thames River, leading 39 people down the tower, according to a statement. Ted Hood, the chief executive officer of Source Holdings Ltd., will join him.

“I’m going to be 50 next year, and I thought ‘this is mid-life crisis perfect,’” Hood, whose company provides exchange-traded funds, said in an interview. “There’s one guy in the office who’s abseiled before and said ’no way, you are going to die of fear.’”

The Shard, which is owned by Seller Property Group Ltd. and the Qatar Central Bank, is 1,016 feet tall and is named for its tapering glass-clad icicle shape. The apartments, which start from level 53, may be in or above the clouds for one in four days a year.

The abseilers include British mountaineer Chris Bonington, a group of royal marines and Ffion Hague, the wife of Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague. Each participant needed to raise a minimum of 25,000 pounds ($39,460) to win a place, according to the event’s website.

Danger Money

Hood, whose training amounts to a few hours descending a seven-story building, raised much of his sponsorship through his employer. He also used the Internet, including the social networking pages offered by Facebook Inc., to gain support, though he says that may turn out to be more dangerous than the abseil itself.

“A good way of telling people I’m trying to raise money is to stick this on Facebook, which I did, which is how my wife found out,” he said. “She was not happy with either me doing it or with me not discussing it with her first. There’s more danger on the home front than on the ‘falling down the side of the building’ front.”

The abseil will begin at the summit on the 87th story and twenty of the group will travel to the 20th floor, according to the statement. The remaining people will end their descent at the 78th floor. The money raised will support the Outward Bound Trust and the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund.

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