Prince William's bold criticism of billionaire space race

Prince William has taken an unexpectedly public swipe at the likes of Sir Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk for prioritising space tourism over efforts to save planet Earth.

The 39-year-old royal called on billionaire entrepreneurs to focus on saving the planet, rather than pouring their wealth into finding "the next place to go and live".

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge visits Kew Gardens
Prince William took part in a Generation Earthshot event with school pupils in London on October 13. Photo: Getty Images.

"We need some of the world's greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live," William said.

The Duke of Cambridge made the bold comments on the BBC Newscast podcast on Thursday while discussing The Earthshot Prize, his ambitious initiative to counter climate change.


The previous day, Prince William and his wife, Kate Middleton, joined school kids for a Generation Earthshot event to generate big, bold ideas to repair the planet and to help spark a lasting enthusiasm for the natural world.

At almost the exact same time over in the US, Star Trek actor William Shatner blasted into space aboard mission NS-18, the second human spaceflight led by Amazon founder Bezos.

Star Trek actor William Shatner went on Blue Origin’s New Shepard with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos
Star Trek actor William Shatner was the latest celeb to fly into space on October 13 aboard a spacecraft owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Photo: Getty Images.

The 10-minute flight saw Shatner, 90, become the oldest person to 'boldly go where no man has gone before'.

While his trip was free, space 'tourists' are forking out millions to make the journey. A spot on Bezos' maiden Blue Origin voyage back in July went for a cool $38 million.

But the duke insisted he has "absolutely no interest" in going into space himself and was instead concerned about the carbon footprint involved.

He is also concerned about the impact of "a rise in climate anxiety" among young people, telling the Newscast podcast: "It's very unnerving and it's very, you know, anxiety making."

'Fork in the road'

Earlier this month, Prince William claimed we'd reached a "fork in the road" in the climate change fight and called for urgent action on the BBC documentary series, The Earthshot Prize: Repairing Our Planet.

He said: "We stand at a fork in the road, we continue on our current path the natural world will decline around us, and with it potentially everything we now take for granted.

"But if we take the other path, if we strive to find solutions to our biggest problems we can create a different future for our children and grandchildren, a better future.

"One in which both humanity and nature thrive, in which the way we live our lives works in harmony with the climate.

"A future with flourishing productive oceans, one that is free of the burden of our waste and that offers, each of us, clean air with every breath."

Additional reporting by Bang Showbiz.

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