The Duke of Sussex has addressed his family’s use of private jets during an eco-travel conference in the Netherlands.
The dad-of-one travelled to Amsterdam - on a commercial flight - to announce a campaign aiming to tackle the environmental problems surrounding tourism and travel.
The global initiative has been launched to encourage more environmentally friendly travel, but comes after a summer of headlines criticising Harry and his wife, Meghan Markle, for using private planes.
During his speech to launch the programme the duke addressed the recent criticism of his use of private jets, explaining that there are occasions he needs to keep his family safe.
"I spend 99% of my life travelling the world by commercial,” he said after being asked about his travel means.
“Occasionally there needs to be an opportunity based on a unique circumstance to ensure that my family are safe.”
Harry, 34, flew into the city yesterday to launch the initiative, which has been in the making for two years.
“We are excited to announce the launch of ‘Travalyst’, a global initiative striving to change the impact of travel, for good,” an announcement on Harry and Meghan’s Instagram page read.
“Partnering alongside key travel industry giants @Bookingcom, #Ctrip, @Skyscanner, @TripAdvisor and @Visa_US, our aim is to spark a movement to transform the future of travel, putting communities at the heart of the solution.”
Prince Harry arrived for the launch looking relaxed in a pale, grey suit, crisp, white shirt and brown, suede boots, before heading inside to discuss how the travel industry can help the environment by encouraging more sustainable travel options.
During his speech he told the crowd that “we could all do better” when it comes to the environment.
"While no one is perfect, we all have a responsibility for our own individual impact,” he said.
"The question is what we do to balance it out."
— Chris Jackson (@ChrisJack_Getty) September 3, 2019
Following the Duke’s arrival at the launch many took to social media to express their views on the new initiative, with many claiming that the royal’s campaign seems to be at odds with his recent means of travel.
Harry has gained many things in life, but there’s at least one thing he’s lost forever: Credibility.
— Matthew Scarsbrook (@mgscarsbrook) September 3, 2019
Perhaps he’d like to think a little more carefully before he dares to lecture the little people. Flying off again soon aren’t they§.
— Jill (@witherjay) September 3, 2019
How to go from hero to zero in a few weeks. People who live in glass houses Harry........
— Sheldon Weston (@SheldonW65) September 3, 2019
Others, however, went online to offer praise for the initiative and Prince Harry’s efforts in helping to launch it.
Prince Harry flew private and there was an uproar. He listened, owned it and now flew commercial. He also isn't to proud to talk about the PJ issue but still you guys slag him. Basically danmed if he does and danmed if he doesn't.
— Francois Osamor (@FrancoisOsamor) September 3, 2019
I'm so proud of Prince Harry. You can see the passion he has for every single project he works on. He truly is awesome. Princess Diana is smiling down on him. pic.twitter.com/hY9ylhf5Cg
— Katrina 🕊️🌸🛡️ (@dazzlegal) September 3, 2019
#PrinceHarry launches a new ecotourism project. Hes been on it 2 years. He’s not asking anyone to travel less, lest hypocrites jump on here, he flew commercial🙄. TheBossDuke #HarryandMeghan #EcoTravel pic.twitter.com/YGJFaU9fAh
— RoyalDreams 👑🌺🛡 (@RoyalDreams5) September 3, 2019
Some were particularly impressed that the press release about the initiative was on paper that could be planted after use.
This is so amazing 👏👏👏👏
This is Harry's press release the card has seeds in them to plant after its use ❤️❤️👏👏👏👏 pic.twitter.com/zimVCQ3oCy
— Sussexes ❤️👑🐼🌸 (@Sussex98) September 3, 2019
This summer the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have faced criticism from the public after reportedly travelling by private jet more than four times this summer.
Their choices have caused controversy as the couple have been continually vocal about environmental issues.
Sir Elton John defended Harry and Meghan for travelling by private jet to his mansion in France, writing in an Instagram post: “To support Prince Harry’s commitment to the environment, we ensured their flight was carbon neutral, by making the appropriate contribution to Carbon Footprint™.”
US chat show host Ellen Degeneres, singer Pink and Argentine polo player Nachos Figueras have also joined Sir Elton John in support of the royal couple.
Ahead of the launch of the Travalyst initiative, The Duke of Sussex said in a statement: "Travel has the unparalleled power to open people's minds to different cultures, new experiences and to have a profound appreciation for what our world has to offer.
"As tourism inevitably grows, it is critically important to accelerate the adoption of sustainable practices worldwide; and to balance this growth with the needs of the environment and the local population.
"Bringing companies, consumers and communities together is our best chance to protect destinations and ecosystems for future generations."