The Prince of Wales has spoken of his “great pride” at watching his sons adopt the causes close to his heart, as they made a rare public appearance as a trio to highlight the importance of protecting the planet.
The Prince joked he never believed sons Prince William and Harry had listened to his advice when they were growing up until seeing, to his “absolute astonishment”, them pay tribute to his work in a documentary released for his 70th birthday last year.
Speaking at the global premiere of Netflix series Our Planet, the Prince praised the eight part programme and narrator Sir David Attenborough.
Prince Charles, who is president of the World Wildlife Fund UK (WWF) said: “I must say I was enormously touched to have been asked here this evening along with both of my sons to launch this really remarkable series.
“It is also a much awaited opportunity to pay tribute to Sir David Attenborough for all he has done over so many years to bring wonder and fascination and in creating desperate plight of the natural world to our attention.
“Above all he has done so much to life the veil of ignorance from our eyes about the integrated and innate beauty of our home.
“Education about what we have, what we destroyed and what can and must be regenerated could not be more timely or more urgently needed.
“I must say I often wonder why we have waited so long to take the action we so evidently are required to do.
“We have cleared of 50 per cent of the world’s rainforests, we have destroyed 50 per cent of our coral reefs, poisoned our rivers and indeed whole swathes of the ocean with the run of industrialised agriculture.
“Climate change is now a very real existential threat to our whole civilisation.
“The greatest crime of all is that we knew what we were doing - informed consent being the basis of democracy, should we not reject informed destruction as the basis of catastrophe.
“And it appears we have only belatedly and partially somewhat reluctantly come to the realisation that our planet does not refer to the our homosapiens, but rather to the whole astounding miracle of life on earth.
“We share it equally and it’s becoming only too obvious for our own survival we desperately need the rest of the natural world, with which we are not only interconnected but which we have been taught to exploit and dominate as something entirely separate from our soul.
“I must say it has given me great pride to see how regular my sons have taken up the causes of my interest.
“When they were much younger I never thought they were paying any attention to anything I was saying.
“But when I turned 70 last year, to my absolute astonishment it appeared that they had.
“My sons are very keen to remind me that we know what the problem is.
“We no longer need promotion to act, but the priority is now to focus urgently on finding a solution.
“It’s also clear that when we look around our world, we need to heal the environment and our society.
“There is much though of what we can be hopeful of, we can change our behaviour, we can embrace a circular economy, we can embrace renewable energy, we can make soil the basis of our agriculture, we can meet sustainable development goal targets on the oceans and the forests.”
The premiere, at London’s Natural History Museum in Hintze Hall under a skeleton of a blue whale, was hosted by British naturalist Sir David Attenborough.
The 92 year old narrates the eight part series which has taken four years to film, involved 3,500 filming days with 600 crew and aims to reach one billion people on the streaming service Netflix.
Created in partnership with Silverback Films, and WWF, it showcases the planet’s most precious species and fragile habitats, revealing
amazing sights on Earth in ways they’ve never been seen using the latest in 4k camera technology.
Sir David took to the stage before the film was shown in front of a audience of around 300 guests including The Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge, Duke of Sussex, David Beckham and singer Ellie Goulding.
He said: “I’ve always believed that few people will protect the natural world if they don’t first love and understand it.
“Many secrets in the archive series reveal nature at its most fascinating and delightful.
“Others prove that good things do indeed come to those who wait, but for a very long time as the many talented cameramen and women who recorded all kinds of wonders for us.
“The natural world is not just nice to have it fundamentally matters to each and everyone of us.
“This has been a true labour of love for hundreds of film makers, cinematographers, conservationists, editors, musicians, production teams, all of whom have brought their best work to this most important story.
“A story that could not be more universal or timely.
“The ability to tell that story in almost every country on earth at the same time via Netflix brings the possibility of an unprecedented global understanding of the one place we all call home.”
Sir David paid tribute to Prince Charles for having a “deep understanding of the natural world” and celebrated “his passion and curiosity” for “clearly inspiring the next generation”.
The series carries an overtly environmental message exploring the natural world and how to protect it.