The Duke of Cambridge began his official visit to Kuwait and Oman on Monday, spending the day in Kuwait undertaking a series of engagements.
His first engagement in Kuwait was a visit to the Jahra Nature Reserve with Sheikh Abdullah Ahmad Al-Hamoud Al-Sabah, the Director General of the Environment Public Authority, where he received a tour of the reserve and learned about its wildlife and plants.
While there, William spoke about recycling and the environment and revealed that his family recycled as much as they could.
“We recycle as much as we can at home, but I worry about the chain,” William said. “What happens to it? We need joined-up thinking – it’s a joined-up effort.”
He met with non-governmental representatives of environmental organisations during the visit to the Jahra Nature Reserve as well and spoke about how everyone needs to be involved in green initiatives to save the planet.
“A lot of people lead busy lives, we have a quick, fast-paced life, but we need to be more conscious about it in the future. We all need to shift our mindset and you guys are part of the solution.”
William also revealed that the Cambridge staff at Kensington Palace had switched to a plastic-free environment, and that “I hate plastic bottles now and I look at them and I literally think it’s the enemy.”
William met with young volunteers with the Trash Tag Kuwait program, and they revealed to William that they’d once picked up 57 bags of trash along the Gulf in Kuwait.
“It’s a global problem and we were fed up of talking about it and wanted to do something about it,” Yousef Al-Shatti, a geologist with the group, told William.
“It must be quite demoralising for you to be out there all day and then come back and find it all full up again,” William told them.
“It’s amazing you guys are doing what you do but we need to do more to stop [the pollution] in the first place.”
William then travelled to the Bayan Palace in Kuwait City for an official lunch with the Emir of Kuwait, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. There, the Emir joked that William had brought British weather with him, as the skies were grey.
William quipped, “I know. I brought all of my summer clothes as well.”
The five-course lunch included cream of asparagus soup with white truffle oil, sole fish fillet, lamb biryani and Black Forest cake.
Following lunch, William visited the Sheikh Abdullah Al Salem Cultural Centre in Kuwait City.
The Cultural Centre is the largest museum complex in the world, comprising 18 hectares and six components, including a Natural History Museum, a Science Museum, a Space Museum, an Arabic Islamic Science Museum, a Fine Arts Centre and an outdoor space called the Public Realm.
While there, William played sports with schoolchildren, including basketball and football, and he couldn’t resist talking about his favourite football team, Aston Villa.
“Have you heard of a team called Aston Villa? Of course, you’ve heard of a team called Aston Villa,” he said when they replied that they hadn’t.
“They played yesterday against Manchester United – a two-all draw. I tried to watch it as soon as we landed. I was as quick as we could.”
During the visit, he partook in reflex and reaction tests with children in the science portion of the Cultural Centre. He also visited the aquarium and learned how the Cultural Centre is teaching young Kuwaiti residents about innovative and explorative areas of science, including space exploration, robotics, human biology and natural history.
His final engagement on Monday saw him driving out to the Kuwaiti desert for a reception hosted by Sheikh Mohamed Abdullah, the Deputy Minister of the Amiri Diwan.
The dinner took place in a tent in the desert and included a cultural display from traditional musicians and dancers. Afterwards, William met the Sheikh and his family, and other guests, who included university students, young leaders, entrepreneurs and those who work in the mental health sector.
William also learned about past visits by The Queen and The Prince of Wales and saw a falcon hunt display.
William’s visit to Kuwait and Oman continues until Wednesday.