Prince William has told Robert Irwin that his father Steve would ‘be very proud’ of his conservation work as he prepares for Earthshot Prize awards this weekend.
The Duke of Cambridge, 39, spoke with the 17-year-old in an interview shared with People magazine as they discussed the first ceremony in the royal’s decade-long global environmental competition.
After Robert told William he was a big fan of crocodiles, much like his late father Steve, the royal said: ‘Honestly, I was a big fan of your dad [Steve Irwin] and I am so sorry…He’d be very proud of you Robert. And what you continued. Your passion is only second to his.’
Robert was just two years old when his dad died in 2006 at the age of 44 after being pierced in the chest by a stingray barb while filming a wildlife documentary.
Prince William has told Robert Irwin that his father Steve would ‘be very proud’ of his conservation work as he prepares for Earthshot Prize awards this weekend
Speaking with Robert, the Duke said: ‘It’s no surprise that you’re a fan of crocodiles as well. The family trait has continued into the next generation I am sure.’
Meanwhile he also spoke about what inspired him to start the Earthshot prize, of which Robert is an advocate.
He said: ‘I felt that a bit of optimism and hope is what we needed. Showing people that there are solutions.
‘That there is a way forward what was going to be needed, and so that’s how the Earthshot Prize sort of spun out from there.’
Robert was just two years old when his dad died in 2006 at the age of 44 after being pierced in the chest by a stingray barb while filming a wildlife documentary
After Robert told William he was a big fan of crocodiles, much like his late father Steve, the royal said he was ‘a big fan of your dad [Steve Irwin]’
Meanwhile Robert said: ‘I’m really glad that I get to hopefully inspire my generation and my fellow younger Australians to ignite and start that spark of passion.’
Steve died on September 4, 2006, after being pierced through the chest by a stingray barb while filming on the Great Barrier Reef.
In the years since Steve’s death, the Irwin family – including Robert’s sister, Bindi, and his mother, Terri – have continued his conservation work at Australia Zoo.
Elsewhere the Duke did a question and answer session on Instagram about the upcoming climate change prize in which he said: ‘It can feel very intractable, very depressing, when we think about how big these problems are.’
He said: ‘The inspiration to create the awards has come about from going round the world and seeing some amazing places and amazing people doing amazing work.
‘We can actually fix this stuff. Ultimately I want my children’s future to be better than what we have at the moment
Elsewhere the Duke did a question and answer session on Instagram about the upcoming climate change prize
‘I think the prize will help climate change- we need hope and optimism right now to fix this stuff.’
He said thinking about the problems was often difficult and ‘depressing’, adding: ‘I think what is missing is the prize, and the sense of optimism and hope that we can actually fix stuff.
‘I think the Earthshot prize has given me a lot of hope, putting this together the last 18 months seeing everyone, meeting everyone, sharing solutions.
‘I do feel really hopeful that we can turn the tide and fix things.’
The Duke said he ‘wanted his children’s future to be better’ as he spoke about his upcoming Earthshot Prize awards
Meanwhile, in a lighthearted moment during the session, the Duke was asked about whether ‘unicorns are real’, to which he responded: ‘If you talk to my daughter, she’d say they were real. Obviously its a trade secret so I can’t possibly comment.’
Last month Prince William announced the 15 finalists of his £50million Earthshot Prize, which aims to encourage the world’s greatest problem-solvers to find answers to the planet’s biggest environment problems.
Five winners will be chosen this month from the 15 finalists, and each will receive a grant worth £1million pounds.
In addition, 14 global companies and brands, including Microsoft, Unilever, Ikea and Walmart, have agreed to support and scale the ideas developed by the finalists.
The award is the most ambitious project yet launched by Prince William, who has long supported conservation charities in Africa and led work to tackle illegal wildlife trafficking.
Prince William’s inaugural £50million Earthshot Prize Awards will be held at Alexandra Palace and broadcast internationally from London on October 17
The 15 Earthshot Prize finalists
Protect and restore nature finalists
- Pole Pole Foundation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo – a community-led conservation initiative protecting gorillas and local livelihoods
- The Republic of Costa Rica for a scheme paying local people to help revive the rainforest
- Restor, from Switzerland, which operates an online conversation search engineering platform
Clean our air finalists
- Blue Map App, from China – an environmental database
- Takachar, from India, which turns agricultural waste into sellable bio-products
- Vinisha Umashankar, who proposes using solar energy to replace charcoal to power millions of roadside ironing carts in India
Revive our oceans finalists
- Coral Vita, from The Bahamas, which grows coral on land to replant in oceans
- Living seawalls, from Australia, for its habitat panels, fitted to sea defences, mimic natural formations like rock pools
- Pristine seas, a global ocean conservation programme from the US
Build a waste free world finalists
- The city of Milan food waste hubs
- Sanergy, in Kenya, which is an enterprise that turns organic waste into fertiliser and insect protein for farmers
- Wota Box, of Japan, turns more than 98 per cent of water waste into clean fresh water
Fix our climate finalists
- AEM Electrolyser, of Thailand, Germany and Italy, which is a green hydrogen technology company
- Reeddi capsules, from Nigeria, are solar-powered energy capsules which can be rented and returned for $0.50 a day, cutting energy costs by 30 per cent and boosting local businesses
- Solbazaar, from Bangladesh, the world’s first peer-to-peer energy exchange network