The King warns of ‘increasing catastrophe’ facing the planet in his first speech since the Coronation
The King has used his first speech since the coronation to warn of the “increasing catastrophe” facing the planet and hailing the scientists and engineers he said can help save it.
He was speaking after a tour of Cambridge University’s Whittle Laboratory which has recently secured funding to develop a new £58 million lab.
The new centre is designed to become the leading global centre for disruptive innovation in net zero aviation and energy, bringing together experts from research and industry to try to halve the time it takes to develop working technology.
During his speech, Charles said he “really wanted just to express my enormous admiration” for the team working at the laboratory.
He added: “And of course the key exercise of all this is to keep the team in being and expand it, but not lose all these remarkable people who have the innovative capacity and the engineering skills to help lead what we need so badly and so urgently in order to save this planet from increasing catastrophe.”
The King’s passion for the environment is well-known and formed a key part of Sunday’s coronation concert.
Fashion designer Stella McCartney spoke on the night and told the audience the King “champions hope and action” as she spoke about his work on environmental issues.
During the Coronation Concert, McCartney said: “His Majesty the King has been shining a spotlight on conservation and been protecting our planet for 50 years now.”
It was also mentioned by Prince William who told the crowd in his on-stage tribute how his father had “warned us of the risks to our planet’s health long before it was an everyday issue”.
The King’s return to official duties saw him break new ground for the planned building and meet leaders from the aviation industry and government including Energy Secretary Grant Shapps and science minister George Freeman.
Charles also attended a collaborative roundtable meeting to discuss potential future pathways to a sustainable aviation industry.
There was also a lighter moment as he walked to perform the ceremonial breaking of the ground, where a lump of mud was already visible on the grass, and joked: “Don’t tell me it’s already been done?”
He added: “It’s very unfair. I was rather looking forward to doing a bit of gardening.”
His speech was watched by around 170 invited guests but a crowd also lined the nearby pavement to catch a glimpse of the King from behind a rope cordon manned by police.
As Charles left the laboratory someone in the crowd shouted “God save the King”.
It was also back to work today for other royals including the Prince and Princess of Wales who represented the king at a Buckingham Palace garden party alongside the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh.
Eight thousand people were welcomed into the grounds for the event, which celebrated the work of volunteers, military personnel and members of the public, where William and Kate were introduced to representatives from organisations as diverse as the Scouts, Maternal Mental Health Alliance and the South Wales Police.