Prince William is hoping the worrying — and fighting for change — he’s doing today will ease some of the “burden” on his children when they grow up.
Talking to the BBC about his goals and vision for his ambitious Earthshot Prize, the Duke of Cambridge said that while his oldest child, 8-year-old Prince George, has already started to realize in very specific ways how people are harming the planet, he’s still hoping to save his younger children, 6-year-old Princess Charlotte and 3-year-old Prince Louis, from shouldering some of his worries about climate change.
William noted that George “is acutely aware, more so than the other two at the moment,” and told a story about George recently becoming both “confused” and “annoyed” when he took part in a school litter pickup, only to discover more of the same trash the next day.
As for his other two kids, William said, “Charlotte is just a bit young, she’s still not quite sure and actually Louis just enjoys playing outside the whole time — he lives outside.”
He continues, “But I think it is slowly dawning on them that these things matter but when you are that young, you just want to have fun and enjoy it.”
“I feel bad,” he admits, “because I don’t want to give them the burden of that worry.”
William, 39, said he has already passed down several eco-conscious habits to George that were taught to him and his brother Prince Harry by their dad, Prince Charles: “[He knows] not to overuse water, being careful with our resources, turning off light switches, things like that, which was instilled in me growing up.”
William emphasizes “education is really key.”
The Duke put that motto in action on Wednesday when he and wife Kate Middleton took part in an afternoon of hands-on, environmentally themed activities with school children at Kew Gardens in London.
The event — which was designed to spark out-of-the-box ideas to save the planet — was “entirely positive,” said Olympian Helen Glover, who joined the Duke and Duchess for the day. She continued, “and why shouldn’t it be? Because it’s positive minds going not, ‘We hope to do it,’ or ‘We might do it,’ but ‘We WILL do it.”
“There was an authenticity” to the afternoon, according to explorer, naturalist and presenter Steve Backshall MBE, who joined the royal couple alongside Glover and London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
Backshall noted that William and Kate, 39, “absolutely knew what everything here was about. They sat down to the kids and listened to them and worked with them. It’s from the heart and genuine and people get that and connect to it. They are living it, they’re owning it and people will respond to that.”
“They’re effortless at it,” he added, noting, “They’ve got kids themselves.”