Prince William Says Queen Elizabeth Would Have Been 'Delighted' by Earthshot Prize Summit in New York

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge delivers a speech during The Tusk Conservation Awards ceremony in London
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge delivers a speech during The Tusk Conservation Awards ceremony in London

TOBY MELVILLE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images Prince William

Prince William is speaking out about a cause close to heart — just two days after the royal family buried Queen Elizabeth.

The new Prince of Wales, 40, addressed the Earthshot Prize Innovation Summit in New York City on Wednesday via video.

"Although it is the saddest of circumstances that means I cannot join you in person today, I am pleased to join you in video form as you gather in New York for the Earthshot Prize Innovation Summit," Prince William said. "During this time of grief, I take great comfort in your continued enthusiasm, optimism and commitment to the Earthshot Prize and what we are trying to achieve."

"Protecting the environment was a cause close to my grandmother's heart, and I know she would have been delighted to hear about this event and the support you're all giving our Earthshot finalists, the next generation of environmental pioneers."

Prince William said that although the world is an "uncertain place right now," there is "huge reason to be optimistic."

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"The 2021 cohort of Earthshot Winners and Finalists is evidence that we can succeed," he said. "That we can protect our world for our children, our grandchildren and the generations that will follow them. These pioneers exemplify the leadership needed in this decade of change. They include inspiring activists, brilliant innovators, a forward-thinking city and even an entire country making a real difference. But they cannot do it alone. This must be a team effort."

He concluded by saying that he and wife Kate Middleton "are so excited to be coming to Boston in December. We look forward to seeing you all very soon."

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To kick off the event, Michael R. Bloomberg said, "Success requires global cooperation and big, bold new ideas, and that's what inspired Prince William to launch the Earthshot Prize two years ago. Now, I know how much he wanted to be here today, I talked to him the day before yesterday, but there is no better way to honor the extraordinary life of his grandmother Queen Elizabeth than by gathering here in support of work that he is leading and an issue that meant so much to her."

Queen Rania of Jordan also paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth after attending the funeral on Monday.

"I want to thank the Prince of Wales for his leadership and vision, which he is always committed to seeing through, much like his late grandmother Queen Elizabeth, who was a passionate advocate for combating climate change," Rania said. "She set the bar incredibly high with her deep sense of duty and resilience. May she rest in eternal peace."

Prince William had originally been set to attend the meeting in person to kick off the countdown to the second annual environmental awards, which aim to promote impactful approaches to the world's most pressing environmental challenges. The Earthshot Prize awards ceremony is set to be held in Boston in December.

The royal's plans for the summit changed following the death of his beloved grandmother on September 8. One week later, Buckingham Palace confirmed that Prince William would not be attending the kickoff event.

CORAL VITA, BAHAMAS - MARCH 26: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge visit 2021 Earthshot Prize Winner, Coral Vita on March 26, 2022 in Coral Vita, Bahamas. Coral Vita was the inaugural winner of the Revive Our Oceans Earthshot in recognition of their ground-breaking work to give new life to dying coral reefs. Their approach, which utilizes an innovative restoration funding model while farming corals on land before planting them into oceans, sees coral grow up to 50 times faster than traditional methods and improves their resilience to the impacts of climate change. (Photo by Ian Vogler - Pool/Getty Images)
CORAL VITA, BAHAMAS - MARCH 26: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge visit 2021 Earthshot Prize Winner, Coral Vita on March 26, 2022 in Coral Vita, Bahamas. Coral Vita was the inaugural winner of the Revive Our Oceans Earthshot in recognition of their ground-breaking work to give new life to dying coral reefs. Their approach, which utilizes an innovative restoration funding model while farming corals on land before planting them into oceans, sees coral grow up to 50 times faster than traditional methods and improves their resilience to the impacts of climate change. (Photo by Ian Vogler - Pool/Getty Images)

Ian Vogler - Pool/Getty

Queen Elizabeth was interred in the King George VI Memorial Chapel of St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle on Monday evening, and the royal family will remain in mourning until one week after the funeral, per the wishes of King Charles III.

The Earthshot Prize and Bloomberg Philanthropies co-hosted the summit, where inaugural finalists and winners of last year's Earthshot Prize gathered. It will enable last year's successful entrants to share updates on how they're making a difference since winning the $1 million prize.

After previously announcing that the second Earthshot Prize awards ceremony would commence in the U.S., the Prince and Princess of Wales revealed the exact location on Twitter in July.

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"In 2022, we're back and bringing Earthshot to the U.S.A., where we'll award the next five winners of the Prize," William, who launched the global environment awards in October 2020, said in a social media video.

The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation serves as a host partner alongside Mayor Michelle Wu and the City of Boston.

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 17: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge on stage during the first Earthshot Prize awards ceremony at Alexandra Palace on October 17, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Yui Mok - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 17: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge on stage during the first Earthshot Prize awards ceremony at Alexandra Palace on October 17, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Yui Mok - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Yui Mok - WPA Pool/Getty Prince William

Inspired by President John F. Kennedy's famed 10-year goal of landing on the moon (known as Moonshot), the Earthshot Prize aims to promote impactful approaches to the world's most pressing environmental challenges.

Fittingly, the announcement that the second awards ceremony will be held in Massachusetts came on the 53rd anniversary of the moon landing.