Prince Charles praises Marcus Rashford over 'extraordinary work' for young people

The prince praised Rashford's mission off the pitch to see children fed. (Getty Images)
The prince praised Rashford's mission off the pitch to see children fed. (Getty Images)

Prince Charles has hailed footballer Marcus Rashford's "extraordinary work" in providing meals for children during school holidays as he spoke about sustainable farming.

Speaking on Radio 4, Charles spoke about his own long term commitment to sustainable methods of farming, and included Rashford's name alongside celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

Rashford has campaigned on free school meals over the last year, urging the government to continue their provision during school holidays so that children in low income families don't go hungry.

His campaign forced the government into a two policy u-turns.

Charles said: "From field to fork, extraordinary work is being done to try and build a better food system for everyone, be it Jamie Oliver promoting education and a balanced diet, Henry Dimbleby’s ambitions for safe, healthy and affordable food, or Marcus Rashford whose mission off the football field is to tackle child hunger."

In January, Rashford petitioned the government to adjust the criteria for receiving free school meals to allow another 1.7 million families to claim them.

His campaigning on the issue was brought up by politicians when he missed his penalty in the shootout against Italy on Sunday evening, during the Euro 2020 final.

Watch: Hundreds of anti-racism protesters take the knee at Marcus Rashford mural

Racist graffiti appeared on a mural of him in Manchester, but supporters of the England footballer came from far and wide to add messages of love for him over the top of the abuse.

He said he was "overwhelmed" by the support.

As well as the nod to the footballer on the radio, Charles's organisation The Prince's Trust tweeted support for him, saying: "We're proud of @MarcusRashford for everything he’s done to support young people both with The Prince's Trust and beyond. The racist abuse that he and others in the @England team have received is unacceptable and proves that the fight for equality continues."

Charles' message on Tuesday's Today programme highlighted sustainable farming, something he first turned his own hand to 35 years ago.

He farms near to Highgrove, his Gloucestershire home, but he has not renewed the lease on his land, as is it likely he will take the throne with too much of the contract left.

The 72-year-old spoke about the "hidden costs" of soil damage, emissions and the social and economic cost to local communities of what is seen to be cost-effective intensive farming.

He said he was hopeful for the future having visited a farm in the Cotswolds where farmers "have identified how we can now produce healthy food in a viable way".

Read more: Oprah Winfrey's interview with Harry and Meghan nominated for Emmy

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He said: "If we regenerate degraded soils around the world, we could capture as much as 70% of the world’s carbon emissions. So, you see, farming can play a big part in protecting the planet."

Charles has campaigned on environmental issues for decades, first speaking about issues of single use plastics 50 years ago.

He launched the sustainable markets initiative in 2020 and this year, the Terra Carta, which aims to ensure companies prioritise nature in their practices and awards a kitemark to those who take part in "genuine sustainability".

Watch: Charles meets young people supported by the Prince’s Trust