Prince Charles Must Aim To Stay Above Politics

The Garden Room at Clarence House was our temporary studio.

We'd spent the morning rearranging pictures and ornaments - and cushions had been plumped to provide the perfect setting for this exclusive interview.

The fact Prince Charles had welcomed us into his home was in itself a sign of how keen he was to share his thoughts on COP21, and the world's record on dealing with climate change.

This is his only interview ahead of the UN's latest climate conference , which starts in Paris next Monday.

After four decades of campaigning on environmental issues, he has again been invited to deliver a keynote speech on the opening day.

You get the sense he isn't feeling entirely hopeful that a consensus or legally binding agreement will be reached between the 193 UN countries on cutting greenhouse gas emissions, but for him this is a vital opportunity to build momentum and again focus minds on the pressures facing our planet.

From austerity, to the refugee crisis, to how he is educating Prince George about nature, he was at ease talking about many aspects of what is a multi-faceted, and at times controversial subject.

And after 40 years, following every twist and turn of the debate, he certainly knows his stuff - always having a fact or example at hand to back up his case.

But his long, sometimes complex answers were a reminder that the Prince of Wales is not a politician.

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We are so used to high-profile figures like him having a specific axe to grind; political figures with their repetitive "key messages" that they are determined to hammer home in every answer.

There was no sense of that from the Prince.

You will not hear him pointing the finger of blame at specific countries, companies, governments or individuals. As a member of the royal family, and future king, that is not his role.

Prince Charles must aim to stay above the politics, yet that doesn't dampen the strength of his message and his passionate belief that we must act before it's too late.

He is widely regarded as a great facilitator, someone who can get people talking, and that's why he will again be centre stage when COP21 opens next week.

:: A special programme, Climate Crisis: Prince Charles Speaks Out, will air on Sky News at 8pm tonight on Sky channel 501, Virgin Media channel 602, Freeview channel 132, and Freesat channel 202.