As the Queen returned to Windsor at the beginning of October to resume her working year, despite the coronavirus changing the format of events, she could at least reflect on some positive news. Her granddaughter Princess Eugenie and husband Jack Brooksbank announced at the end of September they are expecting their first child early in 2021.
The baby will be the first grandchild for the beleaguered Duke of York and his former wife, Sarah, Duchess of York, who celebrated her 61st birthday on 15 October. He or she will be 11th in line to the throne when born, though not an HRH, and a title seems unlikely for the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh’s ninth great-grandchild.
In a year fraught with troubles, Princess Alexandra also had good reason to be cheerful. Her youngest granddaughter, 25-year-old Flora Ogilvy, married her Swedish beau Timothy Vesterberg at the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace on 26 September. The couple married just in time before the Covid-19 rule for wedding guests was changed from 30 people to 15. They will celebrate next year.
Alongside his father the Prince of Wales, who is 72 this month, and his 99-year-old grandfather Prince Philip – both of whom have been beating the drum for the environment for half a century – the Duke of Cambridge is putting his considerable energies into playing his part. Using his status and influence as an active ambassador for the future of our planet, Prince William has harnessed his own global celebrity alongside the wisdom of Sir David Attenborough. It is a winning duo.
William also made a highly acclaimed television documentary, which was shown at the beginning of last month and followed soon after by the launch of the aptly named Earthshot Prize, which aims to provide at least 50 solutions to the world’s greatest environmental problems by 2030. Five £1 million prizes will be awarded each year until then. The first five Earthshots (universal goals) unveiled are: protect and restore nature; clean our air; revive our oceans; build a waste-free world; and fix our climate. Each Earthshot is underpinned by scientifically agreed targets, including UN Sustainable Development Goals.
‘We believe that this decade is one of the most crucial decades for the environment and by 2030 we really hope to have made huge strides in fixing some of the biggest problems the Earth faces,’ William said during an interview with Sir David on the BBC Radio 4 morning news programme Today.
Prince Philip has been saying continually for the last decade that in the end science would be able to solve the world’s climatic and environmental problems and now it looks as if he is right.
How proud Prince Charles must be to see his elder son playing such a constructive part in his own greatest passion. And how pleased the Queen and Prince Philip must be to see their grandson, who embodies the future of the monarchy they worked so hard to preserve, already doing so much more than is required.
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