The ‘royals’ and the environment: between commitment and posture

The 2021 Climate Summit (COP26) in Glasgow is bringing together dozens of world leaders who have come to the Scottish city to debate the climate emergency, some in a more hypocritical way than others.

In addition to political representatives of the highest level, these days some royals, among them, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Kate and Guillermo have replaced Isabel II, forced to rest for at least two weeks, and there they have shown that one of their great flags is sustainability.

Like it or not, royal families have the platform and the responsibility to focus on the problems facing our society. In this sense, the British royal family has known how to interpret its role and has turned to the defense of the planet.

In fact, Prince William has launched the premio Earthshot together with naturalist David Attenborough, an award that was presented for the first time this year and that honors five activists for their contribution and commitment to the environment. Each recipient receives a million pounds with the recognition and some of them have traveled to Glasgow with the grandson of Elizabeth II.

Chris Jackson via Getty Images

William and Kate at a COP26 event

The gala to deliver these awards was held in London in mid-October and Guillermo wanted to do a display of sustainability. No plastics were used, Coldplay performed using energy generated from the pedaling of several dozen cyclists and, according to the organization, no one took planes to attend. In addition, the hosts Guillermo and Kate, did not release clothes.

The Duke of Cambridge has raised concerns about the environment at home. The heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, has been positioning himself for years in favor of taking serious measures to alleviate the climate emergency and has returned to reiterate on the eve of COP26.

Prince of wales has defended the words of Greta Thunberg, who accused politicians of talking a lot and doing little, declaring that he understood their frustration. “People should really realize how desperate so many young people are,” he added, urging the political class to take urgent action because the situation “is already beginning to be catastrophic.”

For the son of Isabel II, sustainability is one of the axes of his work and he dedicates part of his time to promoting initiatives that promote, for example, research and promotion of new, more durable fabrics to reduce textile consumption. In fact, he does what he claims by wearing the same coats for decades. In addition, this year it has launched Earth Charter, a project that aims to raise 10 billion pounds to invest in sustainability.

Prince Charles, faithful to two coats

Carlos from England has acknowledged that he has made changes in his diet to try to reduce his carbon footprint and, despite the fact that he embarks on numerous private flights, he is trying to improve his travels. That is why he has reconverted his Aston Martin from the 70s to run on less polluting fuel: with “leftover English white wine and whey from cheese making”.

Prince Harry, the youngest son of Charles and Diana, has also positioned himself in favor of fighting the climate crisis. In fact, this Tuesday, within the framework of the Climate Summit, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have shown their commitment for his company, Archewell, to achieve net zero emissions by 2013.

The Spanish royal family, lagging behind

In Spain, the Royal House is less involved with initiatives of this type, but Queen Sofía has shown her commitment on dozens of occasions. The emerita has participated in several collections of waste on beaches and forests, in addition to being aware of animal welfare and the preservation of fauna. In fact, some voices suggest that it was she who got Felipe VI to stop hunting.

In addition, Doña Sofía installed solar panels in Zarzuela, she is used to traveling by electric car and is concerned about the disappearance of swallows in Spain.

Queen Sofia, cleaning a beach in Alicante
Queen Sofia, cleaning a beach in Alicante

On the other hand, although Felipe and Letizia have not raised their voices as much as the royals Brits, the queen has indeed made some sustainable winks through her wardrobe. In addition to its policy of continuously reusing garments and accessories, Letizia has been making changes to her wardrobe for months and betting on small Spanish firms that work in an artisanal way, with small collections and, in the case of some, bet on materials that respect the planet.

The other European royalty

It is difficult to find a European monarchy that has positioned itself so clearly on the need to deal with the climate emergency. However, heiresses like Victoria of Sweden have shown their commitment. The princess is a standard-bearer of sustainable fashion and it is common for her to wear repeated garments made with recycled materials.

Also, herself has presented the Global Change award from the H&M Foundation innovative projects to make textiles a less polluting industry, and has participated in seminars on food and sustainable development.

Mary from Denmark also works in this area, who has championed several projects with environmental causes and has shown her interest in impact of the climate crisis on health of the population, especially in developing countries. It is common to see her at Copenhagen Fashion Week, where she advocates a model that is respectful of the planet and inclusive.

March for Climate in Madrid

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