Eco-activism is a natural fit for the royal family

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 (Daniel Hambury)
(Daniel Hambury)

The focus of the exciting Earthshot Prize awards was obviously Emma Watson, in a preposterous outfit made by deconstructing 10 wedding dresses from Oxfam and reassembling them over black trousers and platform boots. It looked weird but made the fashion people happy — though the effect of her imaginative eco-gesture was a little negated by online reports that linked her admirers to fast fashion outlets like Asos so they could Get the Look. (Tip: if you want to Get the Look, select your own charity wedding dresses and buy a sewing machine.)

Also making a decent bid for attention in the recycled fashion stakes was the Duchess of Cambridge, in an Alexander McQueen gown she first wore 10 years ago, thereby demonstrating that you can wear tremendously expensive frocks more than once.

Prince William wore an upcycled velvet jacket, though he looked less grand than Sir David Attenborough, who recycles his evening dress in the fashion of any man of his class, by wearing the same dress suit until it falls apart.

The Earthshot Prize is the initiative of Prince William and is backed by the Royal Foundation. A chip off the old block then, because Prince Charles has been an environmentalist for half a century, well before it was fashionable, as was his father, notably in his work for the World Wildlife Fund, back when we equated the environment with saving pandas. For the royals, environmentalism is a route to relevance and an excellent fit with their natural attributes.

Environmentalism is about stewardship of our inheritance and a sense of responsibility to future generations. The royals do that naturally. They’ve got lots of land to maintain and proprietorship means keeping it in good order for their successors. Environmentalism is global in outlook, and one residue of empire is that the royals feel a sense of responsibility for far-flung parts of the world. Actually the British upper classes generally have been conspicuous for their involvement in the environmental movement; it’s a legacy of land proprietorship.

Still, William and Kate, like Prince Charles, are undoubtedly sincere in their environmental concerns; eco-activists can be glad to have them onside.

What do you think of the royals’ eco-activism? Let us know in the comments below.

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