Daybreak talks exclusively with Prince Charles

In an exclusive interview with ITV1’s Daybreak, His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, gave a stark warning on the environment: act now, or pay the consequences.

Speaking to Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley from the gardens of Clarence House, Prince Charles said the environment is under huge strain and that precautions were needed to combat climate change.

The Prince spoke to Daybreak after spending the last week travelling the country encouraging people to make changes to their lifestyles to help the environment as part of his START 2010 initiative.


Below is the transcript of Prince Charles’ interview:

CHRISTINE BLEAKLEY: Thank you for having us. Such beautiful surroundings, you must have very special memories of your time here in Clarence House?

HRH: Absolutely, particularly when I was small – my parents were here so I do have very happy childhood memories of the place. And then of course when my grandfather died we all had to go to Buckingham Palace and my grandmother moved in. So I have, again, a whole lot of very special memories with her here for whatever it was – 50 something years. 

CB: We’ve been talking about the START 2010 initiative all week on Daybreak and the idea is to try and encourage Britain to be a greener place. Personally, just how important is this for you to get that message across?

HRH: What I’ve been trying to highlight is the fact that so much can be done by communities – it’s a grassroots thing. Frequently people have taken it on themselves to try and do all these things, because they get frustrated I think, and they also realise that there is a huge challenge that we’re facing and we’re putting nature’s systems under huge strain and we can’t go on like that if we actually want to hand over something reasonably worthwhile to our children and grandchildren. That’s the only reason I’m doing it, I’m not doing it for my health otherwise.

CB: But you can talk about people trying to cut down on flying, talk to business leaders – but really it’s the little things that each of us can do as individuals that will hopefully, eventually make the difference isn’t it?

HRH: There’s been a huge amount of popularity recently for books about beekeeping, chicken keeping, allotment building. It wasn’t long ago that allotments went completely out of fashion. Everybody gave it up, they all became overgrown, and then they started building on the allotments. And now suddenly there’s an enormous interest in all that. And I think people begin to discover that actually it’s quite fun having bees and chickens and just having that slightly slower approach.

ADRIAN CHILES: We’ve heard that you have a quite magnificent vegetable garden, is that something that you would be prepared to show us?

HRH: Well it’s only small, but absolutely.

AC: I’m sure it’s magnificent in its own ways.

HRH: [To Christine] He’s digging for victory!


AC: So with the produce here, what happens to it?

HRH: Well most of it is used in the house. We have quite a lot of, inevitably dinners, events and things. So the great thing is to have as much as we can, anyway, from here in the garden. And as I say, it’s an attempt to try at least show willing on a self sufficiency side.

AC: You’d appreciate that at the moment these are tough economic times and people are trying to save every penny. And they might say, well its OK – you’ve got a huge garden – you can go green if you’ve got lots of money. But if you get everything extremely cheaply, it’s more difficult to live like that. What would you say to that?

HRH: You could say that, but then on the other hand all this week I’ve been looking at all these marvellous examples on the ground of very disadvantaged communities which have actually taken all this sort of thing in their stride. Just thinking about the amount of food we waste in this country – it’s 10 billion quid’s worth every year, it’s unbelievable. And then people talk about feeding the world. Well you’d think you might start with getting rid of the waste. Think about in the United States how much waste there is. And we could use that, reuse it again, or look again how we actually farm which doesn’t put nature at the centre of the whole process. So we’ve become disconnected from nature and the world around us – how nature works – and we’ve forgotten that we are part of nature ourselves. We have somehow been taught to believe we are separate from it and that nature is something that we exploit and generally suppress. But all that happens is the more we do that, the more we engender a situation where she kicks us in the teeth. And that is happening now all the time. You can see it in terms of the general chaotic nature of the climate.

CB: So what are your views on people who doubt that, who doubt climate change?

HRH: I find it quite extraordinary. To me it seems only sensible to take a precautionary approach. Clearly there is something going very wrong. And I would say to all these sceptics, well alright, it may be very convenient to believe that somehow all these greenhouse gases we are pouring into the atmosphere just disappear through holes and conveniently into space. It doesn’t work like that..

AC: So you’ve travelled everywhere around this country, around the world, you’ve met everybody influential there is to meet. On the basis of your life experience are you an optimist or a pessimist? I mean seriously, are we all doomed as a planet?

HRH: All I am saying is if we don’t take a precautionary approach it’s going to be no fun at all – on the current way we are proceeding – for our children or grandchildren. Personally I’m not prepared to see your children or grandchildren be handed a completely malfunctioning planetary system.

A: Finally, I’ve got no vegetables for my tea, have you got anything spare here that we could take with us?  Is there a courgette going?

HRH: There might easily be – I could pull up a very small onion.

A: But it would be a Royal Onion! And that would be special. Thank you very much.

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