On Sunday, celebrities joined the Duke of Cambridge in London for the inaugural awards ceremony of his Earthshot Prize, an ambitious environment program that aims to find new ideas and technologies around the world to tackle climate change and Earth’s most pressing challenges.
Before the ceremony, the Prince of Wales took to Instagram and shared a candid snap of father and son sharing a sweet embrace while smiling.
“I am very proud of my son, William, for his growing commitment to the environment and the bold ambition of the Earthshot Prize,” wrote the 72-year-old.
“As a world, we need to come together to inspire, reimagine and build the sustainable future we so desperately need,” the British royal shared. “Over the coming decade, with future generations in mind, the Earthshot Prize, and its inspirational nominees, will help us find the innovative solutions.”
“In parallel, through my Terra Carta and Sustainable Markets Initiative, we will work to mobilize the trillions of dollars required to transition the global economy onto a more sustainable trajectory,” Charles continued. “Together, with all those who join us, we have a real opportunity to deliver a brighter future for humanity while restoring harmony between Nature, People and Planet.”
Actors Emma Thompson, Emma Watson and David Oyelowo joined the 39-year-old and his wife, Kate Middleton, in handing out the awards at Alexandra Palace in north London.
Guests were asked to “consider the environment when choosing their outfit,” and Watson, 31, arrived wearing a gown made from 10 wedding dresses from the charity Oxfam. Middleton, 39, wore an Alexander McQueen dress made for her in 2011, while her husband wore a dark green velvet blazer and a polo neck.
The winners announced included the government of Costa Rica, which was honored for a project that pays local citizens to restore natural ecosystems, as well as the city of Milan, which was handed a prize for its Food Waste Hubs program, which recovers food from supermarkets and restaurants and distributes it to those in need.
The other winners were a land-based coral farm in the Bahamas to restore dying coral reefs; a green hydrogen technology developed to transform how homes and buildings are powered; and an India-based technology that creates fuel from agricultural waste in a bid to stop crop burning.
William and his charity, The Royal Foundation, launched the Earthshot Prize last year, inspired by President John F. Kennedy’s 1962 “Moonshot” speech that challenged and inspired Americans to go to the moon.
The prize, to be awarded to five winners every year until 2030, is billed as the most prestigious of its kind. Each winner will receive a grant worth 1 million pounds ($ 1.4 million) to develop and scale up their ideas.
William has said he wanted the initiative to inject some optimism into the climate debate, and on Sunday he urged young people not to give up hope for the future.
“For too long, we haven’t done enough to protect the planet for your future. The Earthshot is for you,” he said. “In the next 10 years, we are going to act. We are going to find the solutions to repair our planet.”
The United States will host next year’s award ceremony, he added.
The ceremony came days ahead of the COP26 U.N. climate change summit in Glasgow, which begins Oct. 31. William, his father and grandmother Queen Elizabeth II are all expected to attend.
Earlier this week William criticized the space race and space tourism, saying in an interview that the world’s greatest minds should be focused on repairing Earth instead of “trying to find the next place to go and live.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.