Yesterday, Prince Charles and The Duchess of Cornwall attended a Commonwealth Big Lunch, as part of this week’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) events.
Taking part in the luncheon were representatives from the Youth, People’s, Women’s and Business Forums. Initially launched by the Prime Minister, the Commonwealth Big Lunch initiative aims to bring people together in celebration of their Commonwealth connections, through friendship and food. The Big Lunches are now supported by over 10 different faith groups, as well as The Archbishops of Canterbury and Westminster.
Camilla is Patron of The Big Lunch and has attended a few Big Lunches within the past month, even helping primary school children with preparations for the lunches. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also rolled up their sleeves to pitch in with food preparation during a Commonwealth Big Lunch event last month.
In addition to attending the luncheon, the heir to the throne also met with civil society representatives from the People’s Forum. The People’s Forum discussed the need for competent and effective sustainability planning for growing cities. Another central topic involved how civil society can better engage citizens into helping to plan for a more sustainable future in their cities. Prince Charles has been encouraging sustainability for many years; one essential issue that he has worked tirelessly to highlight is the immense problem of plastic in our oceans.
Of particular interest to The Queen’s eldest son was the Sky Ocean Rescue Campaign’s 10m plastic whale, named “Plasticus”. Having just returned from a 12-city British tour, the whale was displayed to highlight the immense problem of single use plastic. Every second, a quarter ton of plastic enters into the world’s oceans; Sky Ocean Rescue used that exact amount of plastic to construct “Plasticus” to illustrate the severity of the problem. The purpose of the campaign is to try and educate people so that they will help to reduce the number of single use plastics that pollute our world’s oceans and kill vital marine life.
In 2017, Prince Charles spoke on this issue, saying: “I find it sobering to think that almost all the plastic ever produced is still here somewhere on the planet in one form or another.”
The Prince of Wales also engaged in discussions with representatives from the Commonwealth Youth Forum. It is estimated that over 60% of citizens in the Commonwealth are under 30 years old. As he made his way around the room, conversing with many of the young people, Charles regaled them with many humorous anecdotes from his past travels to 44 of the 53 countries that are being represented this week.
Upon meeting a youth delegate from the African nation of Cameroon, the Prince recalled his visit there. “I remember going to Cameroon years ago. I have never been so hot in my life. All the air conditioning broke down.”
With regard to Prince Charles’ future role within the Commonwealth, representatives from the 53 nations will hold a meeting on Friday regarding who will be the next Head of the Commonwealth. There is every indication that the Prime Minister, Theresa May, will make a case in support of The Prince of Wales at the meeting. Her spokesman said: “Prince Charles has been a proud supporter of the Commonwealth for more than four decades and has spoken passionately about the organisation’s unique diversity. Succession is a matter for the Commonwealth as a whole to determine.”
Prince Charles has been an avid supporter of the Commonwealth for many years, carrying out various visits and tours to many of the nations.