Maine’s contestant in tonight’s Miss America pageant has already won an award in association with the competition. And it’s from royalty, to boot.

Julia Furtado, Miss Maine 2011, won the bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award on Thursday night in Las Vegas during the pageant’s preliminary competition. The award is bestowed by Great Britain’s Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II’s husband, and honors excellence in community service, talent and physical fitness.

Created in 1956, the international award seeks to help young people reach their full potential. Last year, the charity formed a partnership with the Miss America Organization. This is the first year the pageant has handed out the award.

“She’s represented Maine very well,” said Miss Maine spokeswoman Audrey Findlen.

Furtado, 20, the daughter of Sherry and Edmund Furtado of Dayton, is an applied-science major at the University of New England and a graduate of Catherine McAuley High School in Portland. Her father is a Maine State Police trooper.

A vocalist, Furtado sang “Over the Rainbow” in the preliminary talent competition. Whether she gets to sing on live television tonight will depend on whether she makes it into the pageant’s top 10.

During tonight’s pageant, will which air live at 9 p.m. on ABC, Furtado will wear a MacDougal gown donated by Trisha’s in Topsham and a swimsuit donated by Kompliqué.

The pageant is being held at the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.


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