At the beginning of December, the King concentrated his scientific wisdom and oratory abilities to remind us of the damage we continue to inflict on our planet. The opportunity to speak at the opening ceremony of COP28 at the invitation of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates, and at the request of the British government, was the right moment for His Majesty to remind us of the dangers we all face.
‘As scientists have been warning for so long, we are seeing alarming tipping points being reached,’ the King observed. ‘I have spent a large proportion of my life trying to warn of the existential threats facing us over global warming, climate change and biodiversity loss,’ he said in his speech in Dubai, where the world climate action summit was being held.
‘In 2050 our grandchildren won’t be asking what we said, they will be living with the consequences of what we did or didn’t do… We need to remember that the indigenous world view teaches us that we are all connected. Not only as human beings, but with all living things and all that sustains life. The Earth does not belong to us, we belong to the Earth.’
While the King was in Dubai, the Prince and Princess of Wales were just down the road from Kensington Palace at the Royal Albert Hall for the 96th Royal Variety Performance. They were joined by Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and her husband Prince Daniel, who were on a working visit to the UK and that morning had been warmly welcomed by William and Catherine at Windsor Castle.
It was a long and entertaining evening. Hosted by the actor and energetic presenter Bradley Walsh it showcased theatre, comedy and a huge variety of music including McFly, Rick Astley, Paloma Faith and finally Cher, singing her new Christmas single. It is one of the biggest showbusiness gigs of the year and the monies raised support members of the entertainment industry with a nationwide grants scheme while also running and maintaining the Royal Variety charity’s modernised care home, Brinsworth House, in Twickenham.
The Princess of Wales looked stunning in a dramatic flowing blue gown – with cape sleeves and a jewelled collar – by the designer Safiyaa. The royal couples were given a rousing reception by the audience as they stepped into the royal box. Impresario Giles Cooper, chairman of the charity since 2010, sat next to the Princess of Wales and afterwards escorted the royal party down to the Kensington Gardens Bar to meet the performers, who had given their services for free for the charity. It was late when the Waleses returned to Kensington Palace, but their presence was much appreciated by artistes and audience alike.
From a glamorous event to one promoting sustainability, when Charles III launched his Coronation Food Project on his 75th birthday in November. The initiative is to tackle the huge gap between food waste and food need across the UK. As with all his projects, the monarch firmly believes that young people brought up on supermarket sell-by dates need to be educated about food supply and production. It is ambitious but with the King’s panel of experts to make it happen it has every chance of succeeding.