CEO of the Earthshot Prize says Prince William ‘only ever gets more ambitious for change and impact’

CEO of the Earthshot Prize praises Prince William for ‘only ever getting more ambitious for change and impact’ – after the grieving royal was forced to miss New York summit due to the Queen’s death

  • Hannah Jones said Prince of Wales is ‘really committed’ to the Earthshot Prize
  • Prince William founded the global environmental competition in October 2020
  • Had been due to travel to New York to attend Earthshot Prize Innovation Summit 

The CEO of the Earthshot Prize has revealed how Prince William ‘only ever gets more ambitious for change and impact’.

Hannah Jones told PEOPLE that the Prince of Wales, 40, is ‘really committed to this vision’ after first launching the global environmental competition in October 2020.

Inspired by Kennedy’s Moon Shot proposal in the 1960s, which put the first man on the moon and led to the development of new technology, the Earthshot Prize is set to award £50million in rewards over 10 years. 

William had been due to travel to New York to attend the Earthshot Prize Innovation Summit on Wednesday as a countdown to the awards being staged in the US in December.

But in a pre-recorded message shown at the meeting, he described the ‘saddest of circumstances’ following the Queen’s death, as he and his family continue to observe a period of mourning for the late monarch. 

The CEO of the Earthshot Prize has revealed how Prince William (pictured) 'only ever gets more ambitious for change and impact'

The CEO of the Earthshot Prize has revealed how Prince William (pictured) ‘only ever gets more ambitious for change and impact’

Hannah Jones told PEOPLE that the Prince of Wales (pictured at the Queen's Committal Service on Monday), 40, is 'really committed to this vision' after first launching the global environmental competition in October 2020

Hannah Jones told PEOPLE that the Prince of Wales (pictured at the Queen’s Committal Service on Monday), 40, is ‘really committed to this vision’ after first launching the global environmental competition in October 2020

Hannah said: ‘The Prince only ever gets more ambitious for change and impact. It’s absolutely fantastic.

‘He’s really committed to this vision, that we should be finding amazing solutions, spotlighting them, awarding some. Think of us as a catalyst for change.’

‘Prince William often uses sporting analogies,’ she said of the royal, who is president of the Football Association. ‘What really drives him is feeling that we’re part of a bigger team and that we’re working together as a team.’

She noted that team refers to the Earthshot prize’s Global Alliance partners and ‘he means city mayors, he means government’, and how everyone can come together around a shared vision.

The Prince of Wales spoke of the ‘great comfort’ he has taken in the enthusiasm of those supporting the environmental prize he founded, in a message recorded a day after the Queen’s funeral.

William was to make a solo trip to the United States on September 21, where he would have been joined by previous winners of his global environmental competition.

William had been due to travel to New York to attend the Earthshot Prize Innovation Summit on Wednesday as a countdown to the awards being staged in the US in December. But in a pre-recorded message (pictured) shown at the meeting, he described the 'saddest of circumstances' following the Queen's death, as he and his family continue to observe a period of mourning for the late monarch

 William had been due to travel to New York to attend the Earthshot Prize Innovation Summit on Wednesday as a countdown to the awards being staged in the US in December. But in a pre-recorded message (pictured) shown at the meeting, he described the ‘saddest of circumstances’ following the Queen’s death, as he and his family continue to observe a period of mourning for the late monarch

In a video, recorded on Tuesday at the Windsor Estate and broadcast on Wednesday, the prince said he believed the Queen would have ‘been delighted to hear about’ the summit.

In a virtual message to those gathered in New York for the event, William said: ‘Though it is the saddest of circumstances that means I cannot join you in person today, I am pleased to be able to join you in video form as you gather in New York for the Earthshot Prize innovation summit.’

He added: ‘During this time of grief, I take great comfort in your continued enthusiasm, optimism and commitment to the Earthshot Prize and what we are trying to achieve.

‘Protecting the environment was a cause close to my grandmother’s heart. And I know she would have been delighted to hear about this event and the support you’re all giving our Earthshot finalists, the next generation of environmental pioneers.’

The royal family is continuing its period of mourning for the Queen, to be observed until seven days after the funeral.

The Prince and Princess of Wales view floral tributes left at the entrance to Sandringham House, the Norfolk estate of Queen Elizabeth II, on September 15, 2022

The Prince and Princess of Wales view floral tributes left at the entrance to Sandringham House, the Norfolk estate of Queen Elizabeth II, on September 15, 2022

The Earthshot Prize was founded by William and his Royal Foundation in 2020, and in July this year the project became an independent charity, with the prince as its president.

The second Earthshot Prize awards ceremony is set to be held in Boston in December, after the inaugural event at London’s Alexandra Palace last year.

William said both he and the Princess of Wales are ‘so excited’ to travel to Boston.

He last visited the US in 2014 when he travelled to New York with Kate, who was then pregnant with Princess Charlotte, for a three-day tour.

In his message, William acknowledged that the world is ‘an uncertain place right now’, noting that many people ‘are facing unimaginable challenges – from conflict to energy crises and food shortages’.

He said: ‘While addressing these in the short term, we must also remain resolutely focused on tackling the greatest challenges that threaten our tomorrow.

The second Earthshot Prize awards ceremony is set to be held in Boston in December, after the inaugural event at London's Alexandra Palace last year. William said both he and the Princess of Wales are 'so excited' to travel to Boston. Pictured, the couple at last year's event in London

The second Earthshot Prize awards ceremony is set to be held in Boston in December, after the inaugural event at London’s Alexandra Palace last year. William said both he and the Princess of Wales are ‘so excited’ to travel to Boston. Pictured, the couple at last year’s event in London

‘Because if we don’t, the changing climate will only serve to entrench these immediate challenges into fundamental global issues, severely impacting the lives of each and every one of us. That is why our collective mission is so urgent.’

But striking a more optimistic tone, William insisted that ‘we can protect our world for our children, our grandchildren and the generations that will follow them’, citing last year’s cohort of Earthshot winners and finalists, who he described as ‘inspiring activists’ and ‘brilliant innovators’.

Urging people to work together, he called for a ‘team effort’, adding: ‘We must come together behind their innovative solutions to ensure they reach their full potential with pace and scale. We must collaborate in new ways, and we must be courageous.’

William said the Earthshot decade ‘must inspire action, creativity and collaboration around the globe’ and called on people to ‘ensure the transition to sustainable solutions is the fastest and most endemic change the world has ever known’.

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