William makes first speech as Prince of Wales at United for Wildlife Global Summit

The Prince continues his work in the conservation space

Yesterday, Prince William made his first keynote speech since he was created the Prince of Wales by his father, King Charles III.

William, 40, addressed guests at the United for Wildlife Global Summit.

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At London’s Science Museum, 300 delegates from the private sector, organisations which aim to promote conservation, and law enforcement agencies convened, to increase the global strength against wildlife crime.

United for Wildlife was created by Prince William and The Royal Foundation in 2014 to protect endangered species from the illegal wildlife trade.

He used his first keynote speech as Prince of Wales to reaffirm his commitment to tackling protecting endangered animals and the environment as the ‘natural world is one of our greatest assets’. 

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In his speech, William noted the impact the older generations of his family had on him in championing environmental causes. He said ‘our natural world is one of our greatest assets. It is a lesson I learnt from a young age, from my father and grandfather, both committed naturalists in their own right, and also from my much-missed grandmother, who cared so much for the natural world.

‘In times of loss, it is a comfort to honour those we miss through the work we do’.

The father-of-three reinforced his commitment to raising awareness about the issue of illegal hunting and ending the ‘sinister operations’. William stated how there are ‘many criminals who believe they can act with impunity’, and in turn ‘too many lives being destroyed and too many species on the brink of extinction due to this heinous crime’.

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Prince William, The Prince of Wales addresses the Global Summit on wildlife crime (United for Wildlife)

The organisation ‘set out to ensure that those involved in wildlife crime face an international response as powerful and coordinated as any other serious and organised crime’.

Prince William told the summit how as a society we need ‘to bring their sinister operations out of the shadows’ but need ‘to ensure that communities are equipped, empowered and supported to protect themselves and their natural world’. He emphasised how ‘there’s a war going on people don’t see. Everyone doesn’t really see it’.

The Prince of Wales highlighted how United for Wildlife is having a ‘demonstrable impact’ but have much more to achieve. He said ‘while we do not have the luxury of time, clearly we do have a proven roadmap to success and the motivation to put it into action’.

‘I hope you all leave here today energised and motivated to intensify this work.’

He also got a chance to speak with those on the frontline of wildlife protection, like rangers and scientists helping to safe keep vulnerable species.

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The Prince of Wales isn’t the only member of his family to have taken up tackling environmental issues, as his three children have previously shared his passion for animals with Sir David Attenborough.

The broadcaster gave Prince George a fossilised giant shark’s tooth when they met at Kensington Palace and the young Royal asked him which animal he thinks would become extinct next. Sir David told him: ‘Well let’s hope there won’t be any, because there are a lot of things we can do when animals are in danger of extinction. We can protect them.’

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George (seated), Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis with Sir David Attenborough in the gardens of Kensington Palace in London after The Duke and Sir David attended an outdoor screening of Sir David’s upcoming feature film. (@KensingtonPalace/PA Wire)

It emerged earlier this year, George, who is the third in line to the throne, held a cake sale during lockdown to raise money for the animal conservation charity, Tusk, where he demonstrated his concern for Africa’s wildlife. This is another of his father’s patronages.

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