NEW YORK – Prince William spoke about his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, on Wednesday, in his first statement since the King’s funeral earlier this week.
In a pre-recorded speech, the Prince of Wales addressed audience members at the 2022 Earthshot Prize Innovation Summit in New York City, saying that protecting the environment “was a cause close to my grandmother’s heart”.
“Although the saddest circumstances mean that I cannot join you in person today, I am delighted to be able to join you in video form,” he said.
“During this time of grief, I feel very comfortable in your continued enthusiasm, optimism, and commitment to the Earthshot Award and what we are trying to achieve,” said William, who launched the Environmental Awards in early 2019 to 2020.
“Protecting the environment has been a cause close to my grandmother’s heart, and I know she would have been happy to hear about this event,” Royal added, noting that he and Kate Middleton were “very excited to come to Boston in December, and we look forward to seeing you all soon” at the awards ceremony.
William was scheduled to attend Wednesday’s event in person, prior to Elizabeth’s death on September 8
The royal family is still mourning seven days after the Queen’s funeral. Despite a period of royal mourning, the prince’s ostensible continued appearance at the event was “very symbolic,” according to Hannah Jones, CEO of the Earthshot Award.
“Obviously this has been a very difficult time for him and his family, but I think you should consider it very symbolic because the first thing he’s posting coming out of his mourning for the nation is getting here,” Jones told HuffPost. At the Plaza Hotel, where the summit took place.
“This is in the legacy of the Queen — Her Majesty, his grandmother,” Jones said, referring to the late Prince Philip.
“This is what his father is [King Charles III] Work on it, what works on it now. They think long term. She added that Prince William is thinking of future generations, describing the Prince of Wales as “deeply engaged, determined and motivated” and a “huge source of energy” for those at Earthshot.
Jones’ comments echoed those of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. His organization Bloomberg Philanthropies partnered with Earthshot at the summit, which aims to “make an impact on systems-changing climate solutions.”
Bloomberg said he recently spoke with the royal family and knew “how much he would like to be here today”.
“There is no better way to honor the extraordinary life of his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, than to gather here to support the work he is leading on a cause that has meant so much to her,” he said to a round of applause. Global initiative “A testament to the legacy of Queen Elizabeth”.
“I know Prince William and King Charles are determined to extend this legacy,” he added.
The Earthshot Prize takes its name and inspiration from former President John F. Kennedy’s famous campaign to land a man on the moon in the 1960s.
The Prince’s Environmental Awards initiative is designed to “spur change and help repair our planet over the next 10 years.” Each five winners are awarded £1 million ($1.1 million) annually for their innovative solutions and ideas.
The 2022 Awards are scheduled to take place on December 2 in Boston, in partnership with the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, Mayor Michelle Wu and the city itself.
Actor Matt Damon, who spoke at the New York Summit and is from Boston, has promoted sustainability efforts in his hometown, calling it “America’s greatest city.”
“Sorry, Mr. Mayor,” Damon said with a smile, turning to Bloomberg, adding: “The [Boston Red] Sox are doing awesome. I have to say something.”
In her opening speech at the summit, Jones, CEO of the Earthshot Awards, said the December event will be a “sustainably produced awards ceremony featuring some of the biggest names in music, activism and entertainment.”
She said the organization is aware of its footprint and will try to mitigate it at the award ceremony.
“We will never be perfect. Nobody is perfect. This is the journey of sustainability: it is a journey of progress.” “But our goal is to always make sure that we include sustainable thinking in everything we do.”