Relaxed Prince William says 'address me any way you want' as he shares how climate change keeps him up at night

Rebecca Taylor
·Royal Correspondent
·4-min read

Watch: Celebrities, activists and experts name as Earthshot Prize judges

A relaxed Prince William told podcast hosts “you can address me any way you want” before he shared his mission to tackle climate change and how it keeps him up at night.

William appeared on the Outrage and Optimism podcast on Friday 23 October, and was quickly presented with the issue of how the hosts should address him.

He was asked by co-host Christiana Figueres what he should be called, and jokingly replied: “You can address me any way you want.

“Customary is my name... William, we’ll go with that.”

It echoes the relaxed attitude of his brother who told conference attendees “call me Harry” back in February as he prepared to step back from senior royal duties.

Figueres is the former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). She oversaw the delivery of the Paris Agreement, widely agreed to be the landmark agreement on tackling climate change.

She is also going to be working with William on his Earthshot Prize project, which will give away £50m over the next 10 years to groups, individuals and even countries who are working to combat climate change, clean up the oceans or build a waste-free world.

KHYBER PAKHUNKWA, PAKISTAN - OCTOBER 16: Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge visit the Chiatibo glacier in the Hindu Kush mountain range on October 16, 2019 in the Chitral District of Khyber-Pakhunkwa Province, Pakistan. They spoke with a an expert about how climate change is impacting glacial landscapes. The Cambridge's are engaging in a royal tour of Pakistan from 14th -18th October.(Photo by Neil Hall - Pool/Getty Images)
William and Kate at the Chiatibo glacier in the Hindu Kush mountain range in October 2019. (Neil Hall - Pool)

Read more: Prince William rejects climate change denial and says science is 'irrefutable'

Speaking about his own optimism, Prince William said: “When I was growing up I did feel that tackling things negatively was the way to go forwards and to push people into doing stuff and say ‘these are really bad things you need to change that’.

“I don’t propose nobody should be calling things out that are wrong.”

He gave an example of his work tackling the illegal wildlife trade in China and the Far East by encouraging the government to become the global leaders in conservation.

He said: “The vast majority of people want to do the right thing, no one wants to do the wrong thing. You’ve got to give people the opportunity to see the potential and the way forward.”

The duke, 38, continued: “I get outraged by the inaction. As I’m in a position of leadership, I feel I could do a lot more, if given that ability so I don’t understand why those who have the levers don’t.

“That’s what really upsets me and keeps me awake at night.”

William, who is second in line to the throne, was asked by Figueres about whether monarchies in other nations had a role to tackle issues where “democratic systems are really struggling to pick up the responsibility” because by their nature they are long-term thinkers and institutions.

Undated handout photo issued by Kensington Palace of the Duke of Cambridge sitting under the canopy of an oak tree in the grounds of Windsor Castle. The future king has said there is "no choice but to succeed" when tackling the problem of climate change over the next 10 years.
The Duke of Cambridge under the canopy of an oak tree in the grounds of Windsor Castle. (Kensington Palace)

Read more: Buckingham Palace is selling a royal Christmas tree decoration for a princely £35

William said: “There isn’t anyone I’ve spoken to that isn’t in agree[ment] with that statement, everyone knows this is where we’re heading and these are the issues we need to tackle.

“I think getting to those in the political world with the will to tackle things is another story.

“The groundswell of opinion and groundswell of action, particularly in younger generations, we’ve seen Greta and others become good advocates and leading light for voicing concerns around the environment.

“That has catalysed and galvanised a lot of people to realise that this is taken very seriously from the younger generation and if they are up in arms about their future then the political will should be there to listen and act on what they’re saying.”

Watch: Prince William says family were ahead of their time in fighting climate change

Speaking about how he was picking up the campaigning role from his grandfather and father, William said: “I think my family has naturally had an opinion here to support and to be a part of the environmental debate for a long time because it’s been at the forefront of a lot of conversations and a lot of issues for many, many years and people have talked about it for a long, long time.

“But we need the action now and that’s what these next 10 years is about.”

William’s Earthshot Prize was formally launched earlier this month, with nominations opening at the beginning of November.

The prize will award £1m to five winners, in five categories, over 10 years, recognising projects that will help improve life for everyone.

The winners will be decided by a panel that includes names like Sir David Attenborough, Shakira and Cate Blanchett.

Watch: What happens when the Queen dies?