Prince Charles launches new initiative with a bike ride and hosts G7 climate meeting

On what would have been Prince Philip’s 100th birthday, The Prince of Wales joined more than 30 riders at Highgrove, his home in Gloucestershire, as they set off on their 250-mile ‘Palaces On Wheels’ event in aid of the British Asian Trust.

Charles was joined by actor Sanjeev Bhaskar, who is a British Asian Trust ambassador, with the Prince admitted to having a quick practice but said he had not cycled ‘for years’, and was a little wobbly as he started.

As he gripped the bike, Charles commented: “I haven’t worked out the gears. I hope I don’t bump into you or get stuck behind you later on!”

The Prince of Wales joined more than 30 riders as they set off on their 250-mile ‘Palaces On Wheels’ event in aid of the British Asian Trust. (IMAGE: Clarence House).

The cyclists are set to stop at a number of royal residences during their event, including Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace and Sandringham.

Their four-day adventure will raise money for the British Asian Trust, which aims reduce poverty and disadvantage for communities in South Asia. This includes work in areas of anti-trafficking, education, livelihoods, mental health and conservation.

Most recently, the BAT set up an emergency fund to get oxygen provisions to India, which has been suffering from devastating levels of Covid hospitalisations and deaths.

The Prince of Wales was jokingly given a lycra top. (IMAGE: Clarence House).

The future King had told the 30 riders after seeing them in their lycra gear that they were ‘a very good demonstration’ of why he doesn’t wear lycra: ‘it’s a nightmare getting into it’.

After Charles laughed off the outfits worn by the riders, he chuckled heartily when he was handed a tiny lycra top by Rohit Chadda, one of organisers of the charity ride.

“Oh, have we got the wrong one?” Chadda joked at Charles’ expression.

“I mean, I have heard about lycra, but really!” he said, stretching the top. The Prince was instead dressed casually in beige trousers and jacket, with a shirt and tie.

Charles led the riders off on their bike ride at Highgrove. (IMAGE: Clarence House).

The Prince of Wales praised the riders for taking on the challenge. (IMAGE: Clarence House).

Talking to the cyclists, Charles praised them and said: “It’s very good of you to do this. I do hope you don’t get too saddle-sore. I was told some time ago that surgical spirit can help with the sores.”

Mr Chadda told Charles: “On behalf of all the sponsors and riders, thank you so much that you have been able to support us so well. If you weren’t involved, you could take a zero off the amount we raise. It makes that much difference, it’s true, it really is.”

The cyclists then proceeded to start their fundraising challenge, with traditional the Indian Dhol drummers paving the path out of Highgrove, providing ample ambient sounds to rally the team as they set off on their journey, led by HRH The Prince of Wales.

Charles mentioned that he had practised before the event: “(I) got on a bike the other day. It’s years since I’ve ridden.”

Later on in the day, The Prince of Wales hosted a meeting with CEOs involved in the Sustainable Market’s Initiative’s Terra Carta, to talk about how the private sector can work with international governments in tackling climate emergency and make the world’s economy more sustainable ahead of the G7 in Cornwall. The meeting took place at St James’s Palace in London.

Speaking at the event, Prince Charles said: “And I particularly wanted to say on this occasion how grateful I am to all of you for joining us here because we do have I think a potentially game-changing opportunity to drive forward the partnerships between government, business and private sector finance that are absolutely vital if we are to win the battle to combat climate change and biodiversity loss.

“As I am afraid I have been trying to say for several decades, unless we can actually unlock private sector resource, innovation and finance, with the public sector setting a framework of incentives and regulation, we just don’t stand a chance of solving the existential crises we have engineered over the years.”

The Terra Carta was launched by HRH at the One Planet Summit in January 2021, providing a roadmap for acceleration towards an ambitious and sustainable future; one that will harness the power of nature combined with the transformative power, innovation and resources of the private sector.

The Prince of Wales launched the Sustainable Markets Initiative alongside a 10-point action plan at Davos in January 2020. The SMI is a network of global CEOs working together to build prosperous and sustainable economies that generate long-term value through the balanced integration of natural, social, human and financial capital.

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