The Prince of Wales gave an exclusive interview to The Daily Telegraph where he spoke on a variety of subjects, including his number one passion: the environment.
Speaking to journalist Alex Preston, Prince Charles talks about gardening as a child and how it fueled his passion later in life, and how he works to keep Highgrove, his country home, green.
Preston asks him if the changing tides of public interest in issues related to organic farming and agriculture have made him feel vindicated, and Prince Charles replies that he doesn’t feel that way, but “If change is happening, it’s happening very slowly – too slowly – and it’s coming too late. This is what frightens me.”
Prince Charles continues that “The increasing loss of biological diversity terrifies me, and the fact that we seem to have forgotten that everything in nature is interconnected, including ourselves.
“Unfortunately, the destruction is continuing at a rapid pace – chemicals of every description, artificial fertilisers and antibiotics are still being used in all kinds of ways, all of them entering the rivers and going out to sea where they’re causing untold damage to the marine environment, often without people knowing it.”
One of the challenges, Prince Charles says, is “to persuade people that there’s an alternative way of doing it, as there is for plastics. But, of course, it’s very tempting to resort to a can of this or a can of that when you have a particular problem.”
Prince Charles’s passion for gardening was sparked by pram rides through the gardens at Sandringham, where Queen Alexandra had created a topiary garden; and encouraged by his grandmother, The Queen Mother.
“I adored being a child in my grandmother’s garden at Royal Lodge in Windsor Great Park. My grandfather, King George VI, made a lot of it himself. He hacked out clearings and planted lots of rhododendrons and azaleas. I’ve always had a passion for them.”
At Buckingham Palace, he was allowed a little garden plot, alongside his sister, Princess Anne.
“We had a tiny bit at the back of the garden where we could grow vegetables and tomatoes,” he says. “That experience is very valuable, and I hope my grandchildren can have the same.”
Speaking about his grandchildren, and whether they – Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis and Archie – will take up gardening as a result of spending time with him, Prince Charles says that he hopes they will.
“You never quite know what influence you’re having or what difference the garden is making, but it’s only years later that people will admit it. I had no idea, for instance, that my own children might have been paying attention to me about rubbish and plastic waste. They suddenly announced that they had actually been listening, but you think you’ve been having no influence at all.”