‘Mad dogs and Englishmen’ Charles cracks joke as he and Camilla battle brutal heatwave
Prince Charles says tackling climate change is 'utterly essential'
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The Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, faced the blistering sun on Monday as they began their visit to Cornwall. But, as noted by Prince Charles, they weren’t the only people braced for the hot weather, as they were joined by more than 600 royal well-wishers during a reception marking his 70th year at the helm of the Duchy of Cornwall.
Expressing his sympathy for the attendees “having to put up with the inordinate heat”, Charles – known as the Duke of Cornwall while in the area – joked this behaviour was “rather typically British”.
Speaking to guests gathered at Boconnoc House, Lostwithiel, he added: “Rather mad dogs and Englishmen going out in the midday sun moment.
“But you are all very resilient and courageous.”
Despite the joke, the heir to the throne spoke seriously about the record temperatures being recorded over the past hours across the UK.
Charles told his guests: “As I have tried to indicate for quite some time, the climate crisis really is a genuine emergency and tackling it is utterly essential – for Cornwall, the country and the rest of the world.”
The Duke of Cornwall also spoke of his Cornish estate’s commitment to reach net zero carbon emissions by the early 2030s.
Charles said: “If I may so say, those commitments around net zero have never been more vitally important as we all swelter under today’s alarming, record temperatures across Britain and Europe.”
Prince Charles has been a relentless campaigner for the protection of the environment for more than five decades.
In February 2020, the heir to the throne marked the 50th anniversary of his first landmark speech on plastic waste and air pollution.
Recalling how his warning was received five decades ago, Charles said: “I was considered rather dotty, to say the least, for even suggesting these things, rather like when I set up a reed-bed sewage treatment system at Highgrove all those years ago – that was considered completely mad.”
Charles’s fight for the environment has been inherited by his sons Prince William and Prince Harry, who have both over the years supported organisations and campaigns in favour of conservation and the fight against climate change.
In 2020, Prince William launched the Earthshot Prize, a decade-long initiative awarding five £1million grants every year to projects finding workable solutions to the planet’s most pressing environmental issues.
While the project was born as part of the Cambridges’ Royal Foundation, it was announced last week the Earthshot Prize has now become an independent charity with Prince William at the helm.
During his annual visit to Cornwall, Prince Charles also reflected on the future, acknowledging he will need to pass on the title of Duke of Cornwall to his eldest son upon acceding to the throne.
He said: “I have paid innumerable visits to Duchy farms which I have seen evolve over the generations.
“Having started with the grandfathers 53 years ago, I am now coming towards the end of my time with the grandsons and granddaughters.
“I cannot help but feel the most overwhelming gratitude for all those who have gone before us and whose careful and devoted stewardship has bequeathed to us the Duchy which it has been my privilege to serve for these seventy years.
“Now, as I find myself in the somewhat unnerving position of being the longest serving Duke since 1337, I can only hope that the changes I have made mean it will be in even better shape for those who come after me.”
Prince Charles and Camilla, who shielded herself from the sun using a parasol, stepped out in Cornwall on the first day covered by the Red Extreme heat warning issued by the Met Office on Friday.
Last week, the agency forecasted temperatures will likely be in the high 30s°C throughout Monday and Tuesday and could hit 40°C in certain areas.
On Monday, temperatures hit 38.1°C in Santon Downham, Suffolk.
On Tuesday morning, the record of the hottest day in the UK was smashed, with Charlwood in Surrey recording 39.1°C, according to the Met Office.
The record was previously held by Cambridge, where in July 2019 had been recorded 38.9°C.
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