‘Cornerstone of my life’ Prince Charles praises Commonwealth as he prepares to lead union

Prince Charles joined the Queen and other senior royals in their celebration of the Commonwealth during a special BBC One programme dedicated to the 54-strong union. In an impassioned speech delivered from an eerily empty Westminster Abbey, the Prince of Wales spoke proudly about the Commonwealth and how it is “uniquely placed” in the world to be able to lead it on the fight against climate change. 

The Prince of Wales said: “The Commonwealth has been a cornerstone of my life for as long as I can remember.”

The future King shared his hope this union will be able to also become a cornerstone for a sustainable future “for us all”. 

In 2018, the Queen named Prince Charles her successor as head of the Commonwealth.

The monarch’s heir will assume this role at the end of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign – when he will also become King.  

In his speech, Prince Charles spoke about his long-life commitment to protect the environment. 

Praising young people for “instinctively understanding how critical it is to protect and restore the natural world”, the Prince of Wales also said the “Commonwealth is on the frontline” in the fight to protect the environment and revert the effect of climate change. 

The royal went on listing examples of the “remarkable ingenuity and talent” shown around the Commonwealth to provide environmentally sustainable solutions, from sustainable shipping to reforestation to nature-based solutions. 

Prince Charles added he is “determined to do what I can” to support these vital efforts.  

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The Prince of Wales launched in January Terra Carta – the Earth Charter – which aims at pushing businesses to invest in the health of the planet and people. 

Signatories of this initiative must agree to undertake almost 100 actions to become more sustainable by 2030. 

In today’s speech, Prince Charles also spoke about the devastating effects the pandemic continues to have on the Commonwealth – and how communities within the union have demonstrated “extraordinary determination, courage and creativity” in responding to the emergency. 


He said: “The coronavirus pandemic has affected every country of the Commonwealth.

“Cruelly robbing countless people of their lives and livelihoods.

“Disrupting our societies and denying us the human connections which we so dearly cherish.

“Amidst such heartbreaking suffering however the extraordinary determination, courage and creativity with which people have responded has been an inspiration to us all. 

“This pandemic has shown us the true nature of a global emergency.

“We’ve learned that human health, economic health and planetary health are fundamentally interconnected and that pandemics, climate change and biodiversity loss are existential threats which know no borders.” 

The Prince of Wales’s speech came after the Queen delivered her annual message to the Commonwealth. 

In it, the monarch highlighted the importance of unity and family saying: “The testing times experienced by so many have led to a deeper appreciation of the mutual support and spiritual sustenance we enjoy by being connected to others. 

“The need to maintain greater physical distance, or to live and work largely in isolation, has for many people across the Commonwealth been an unusual experience.

“In our everyday lives, we have had to become more accustomed to connecting and communicating by our innovative technology, which has been new to some of us.

“With conversations and communal gatherings, including Commonwealth meetings, conducted online, enabling people to stay in touch with friends, family, colleagues, and counterparts who they have not been able to meet in person.

“Increasingly, we have found ourselves able to enjoy such communication as it offers an immediacy that transcends boundaries or division, helping any sense of distance to disappear. 

“We have all continued to appreciate the support, breadth of experiences and knowledge that working together brings.”

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