William speaks of ‘saddest of circumstances’ in message to Earthshot Prize event


The Prince of Wales films his recorded speech to be played at the Earthshot Prize Innovation Summit in New York on Wednesday (The Earthshot Prize/Bloomberg Philanthropies/PA) (PA Media)

The Prince of Wales films his recorded speech to be played at the Earthshot Prize Innovation Summit in New York on Wednesday (The Earthshot Prize/Bloomberg Philanthropies/PA) (PA Media)

The Prince of Wales, in a message recorded a day after the Queen’s funeral, spoke of the “great comfort” he felt in the enthusiasm of supporters of an environmental prize he founded.

William was scheduled to travel to New York to attend an Earthshot Prize innovation summit as a countdown to the US awards ceremony.

But he described the “saddest circumstances” after his grandmother’s death, as he and his family continue to observe a period of mourning for the late monarch.

William was due to travel solo to the United States on September 21, where he would have been joined by previous winners of his £50million global environmental competition.

In video taken at the Windsor Estate on Tuesday and aired on Wednesday, the prince said he believed the Queen would have been “delighted to hear of the summit”.

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In a virtual message to those gathered at the New York event, William said: “While it is the saddest of circumstances that mean I cannot be with you in person today, I am delighted to be able to join you in video form at your gathering in New York for the Earthshot Prize innovation summit.”

Protecting the environment was very important to my grandmother

Prince of Wales

He added: “At this time of sadness, I find great comfort in your continued enthusiasm, optimism and commitment to the Earthshot Prize and what we are trying to achieve.

“Protecting the environment was very important to my grandmother. And I know she would have loved to hear about this event and the support you all give to our Earthshot finalists, the next generation of environmental pioneers.”

The royal family continues to mourn the Queen until seven days after the funeral.

No official engagements are expected from members of the royal family and flags at royal residences will remain at half-mast until 8am Tuesday – after the final day of royal mourning.

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The Earthshot Prize was set up by William and his Royal Foundation in 2020 and in July this year the project became an independent charity with the prince as president.

The second Earthshot Prize awards ceremony is scheduled to take place in Boston in December, following the inaugural event at London’s Alexandra Palace last year.

William said both he and the Princess of Wales are “so excited” to be traveling to Boston.

He last visited the US in 2014 when he traveled to New York for a three-day tour with Kate, who was then pregnant with Princess Charlotte.

In his message, William acknowledged that the world is “an unsafe place right now,” noting that many people “are facing unimaginable challenges — from conflict to energy crises to food shortages.”

He said: “While we address these in the short term, we must remain resolutely focused on tackling the major challenges that threaten our future.

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“Because if we don’t, the changing climate will only serve to anchor these immediate challenges into fundamental global issues and seriously impact the lives of each and every one of us. That is why our common mission is so urgent.”

But on a more optimistic tone, William insisted that “we can protect our world for our children, our grandchildren and the generations that will follow them,” citing last year’s cohort of Earthshot winners and finalists, whom he called “inspirational Activists” labeled “brilliant innovators”.

We need to work together in new ways, and we need to be bold

Prince of Wales

He urged people to work together, calling for “teamwork” and adding: “We must stand behind their innovative solutions to ensure they reach their full potential with pace and scale.”

“We need to work together in new ways, and we need to be bold.”

William said that the Earthshot decade “must inspire action, creativity and collaboration around the world” and urged people to “ensure the transition to sustainable solutions is the fastest and most endemic shift the world has ever seen.” .



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