Princes Charles and William Are “Competing” for Spotlight, According to Royal Expert

Though Charles also said he was “proud” of William’s climate work.

ascot, england june 18 prince william, duke of cambridge and prince charles, prince of wales on day one of royal ascot at ascot racecourse on june 18, 2019 in ascot, england photo by mark cuthbertuk press via getty images
(Image credit: Mark Cuthbert)

Few issues are as pressing as addressing climate change, and the royals know it. Between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle using their platform to call attention to the climate crisis, Prince William’s groundbreaking Earthshot prize aimed to fund environmental solutions, and Prince Charles’s announcement of his environmentally focused economic recovery plan Terra Carta—this family is all-in when it comes to tackling this problem.

But in an interview with Express UK, royal expert Dr. Ed Owens, an honorary research associate at Royal Holloway University’s Centre for the Study of Modern Monarchy, says there may be more than collaboration on the brain when it comes to how Prince Charles and Prince William approach their environmental initiatives. “Interestingly,” said Owens, “Charles and William seem to be both competing for this image as the environmentalist king-in-waiting.”

While Charles is next in line for the throne, a new poll of 3,000 British citizens showed that William was a slightly more popular choice for King—something that may inform Charles’s outspoken environmental stances. “They never associate themselves with controversial topics because if it's controversial it means they become politicised - and they are not allowed to be politicised,” Owens says of the royals. "So the great thing about the environment is that it is broadly accepted by a large majority now [who agree] that climate change is a problem.” As a result, Owens added, “they are both looking to try and seize the limelight in terms of responding to environmental concerns."

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Whether or not this friendly competition truly exists, there are far worse issues for which to mobilize royal resources than the environment. But let’s not be too hasty when it comes to pitting the royals against each other on this topic, either: In an announcement this weekend, according toITV, Prince Charles said that he was “very proud” of William for his dedication to Earthshot and larger environmental causes.

The inaugural Earthshot Prize winners will be announced Sunday at 8pm BST.