Will Charles III Be a ‘Green’ King?

Britain's Prince Charles smells a 'Highgrove' rose
Britain's Prince Charles smells a 'Highgrove' rose, during a visit by members of the royal family to the annual Chelsea Flower Show in London on May 18, 2009. Queen Elizabeth II presented Prince Charles with The Royal Horticultural Society's Victoria Medal of Honour during the visit, the highest accolade that the Royal Horticultural Society can bestow. SANG TAN / POOL / AFP via Getty Images
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Since he was a young prince, King Charles III has made his concerns and passion for the environment known, and has been campaigning for environmental causes and taking concrete steps to live in a sustainable way.

In 1970, when Prince Charles was 21, he told the Countryside Steering Committee for Wales, “There is chemical pollution discharged into rivers from factories and chemical plants, which clogs up the rivers with toxic substances and adds to the filth in the seas. There is air pollution from smoke and fumes discharged by factories and from gases pumped out by endless cars and aeroplanes,” as The Guardian reported.

Prince Charles weeding his herb garden at Highgrove, Gloucestershire on July 14, 1986. Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

His audience may not have been expecting such sentiments from the Prince of Wales at the time, but they have become increasingly customary and viewed as not only relevant but as a clarion call in the ensuing decades.

“I would go so far as to say that he possibly is the most significant environmental figure in history, considering the breadth and depth that he’s gone into over so long,” said former chief of Friends of the Earth and now head of Natural England Tony Juniper, who advised Charles for several years and co-authored two books with the king, as reported by The Independent.

But will the “green” monarch be able to continue to publicly pronounce his passion and concerns for the environment now that he’s king?

“Definitely not,” said former head of the Green party and Friends of the Earth Jonathon Porritt, who was an advisor to Charles when he was Prince of Wales, as The Guardian reported.

Porritt said there has always been an understanding that when Charles acceded to the throne, he would have to be less outspoken about some of the causes that are important to him.

Many of King Charles III’s environmental causes will be carried on by Prince William, who shares his father’s dedication to the environment and has taken up his efforts with species conservancy and rainforests.

The Earthshot Prize was created by Prince William last year for projects that offer climate crisis solutions, reported VOA.

Last year, Charles gave the opening address at the COP26 climate summit, saying, “Time has quite literally run out,” as VOA reported.

Charles has always been a bit of a rebel when it comes to subjects he’s passionate about, though according to The Guardian, his public stance has been more subdued in recent years.

“He has raised the alarm on subjects that were previously seen as fringe,” Juniper said, as reported by The Guardian.

Prince Charles strolls through the meadow at Clattinger Farm near Oaksey, Wiltshire on July 9, 1997. He was visiting as patron of the Wildlife Trusts to inaugurate Wildflower Meadows, with a history of organic farming, as a nature reserve. Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

“In many ways he has been ahead of the public awareness and political awareness,” Bob Ward of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment told AFP, as VOA reported.

As king, Charles will still have the opportunity to voice his concerns to an influential audience in weekly private chats with the prime minister, reported The Guardian.

“Whoever is prime minister should probably anticipate a pretty lively set of conversations on any shortfalls, in private,” Porritt said, as The Guardian reported. “They’d better get ready.”

King Charles III has incorporated many sustainable practices into his daily life.

At Highgrove House in Gloucestershire, King Charles has a public garden and an entirely organic farm. The farm’s produce is carried by Waitrose under the “Duchy Organic” label, reported VOA.

King Charles — who is president of animal rights organization WWF-UK — has owned the same Aston Martin for 50-plus years, which is equipped to run on a surplus of white wine from England and whey derived from cheesemaking.

“I think he needs to be more modest and really push the environmental agenda and make that his legacy,” illustrator Ruby Wright, who came to Buckingham Palace to pay her respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II told AFP, as VOA reported. “I know he’s not allowed to be political at all but this isn’t politics. This is the future of humanity.”

In 70 facts about HRH The Prince of Wales on the Prince of Wales website, the 70th fact states: “The Prince often carries out tree planting ceremonies during engagements. After planting each tree, HRH gives a branch a friendly shake to wish them well.”

With the new King of the United Kingdom comes a wealth of knowledge regarding environmental issues and sustainable practices.

“For 50 years, he’s been involved with discussions about tropical rainforests and deforestation, sustainable agriculture and farming, water, food security, climate change, the plight of peatlands,” Juniper told BBC Radio 4’s Today program, as reported by The Independent. “He’s accumulated vast knowledge on these subjects and has been extremely driven and hard-working in making a contribution on it.”

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