Extinction Rebellion blockade Prince Charles’ residence in 2019
The Prince of Wales has been renowned for championing green causes since the Eighties, long before environmentalism and action on climate change had become mainstream. He is now a respected figure within the conservation movement, and practises what he preaches, too. Charles featured in British Vogue this month to discuss his lifelong commitment to sustainable fashion and encouraged the public to move away from fast fashion.
The public movement against climate change has been growing in recent years, but it started to make headlines when the more radical group, Extinction Rebellion, started to hold protests up and down the country — before it began to move across the globe.
The group wants governments around the world to take action to avoid biodiversity loss, and ecological collapse.
It wants the UK Government to declare a climate and ecological emergency, and create a citizens’ assembly on climate and ecological justice.
However, Extinction Rebellion has been heavily criticised after protests began to block transport, and occupy key prominent sites across London last year.
It has been accused of extremism and of being unrealistic with its timeframe — it wants the UK to have net zero carbon emissions by 2025.
Prince Charles and an Extinction Rebellion protest
The Extinction Rebellion movement campaigns for drastic action on climate change
Others have said it was not inclusive of working-class organisations, with Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy claiming: “Calls for individual action can’t just be modelled on the lifestyles of middle-class city dwellers.”
Yet, the group has continued to campaign across the country.
In March last year, Extinction Rebellion, @ExtinctionR, took to Twitter to announce it had “non-violently” imposed “blockades” around the “private residence of Prince Charles and handed over a letter calling on them to declare a climate and ecological emergency”.
Standing outside the Prince of Wales’ Highgrove home in Gloucestershire, the protesters formed a “chain” protest, and called for him to “stand by his words”.
The Rebellion also released a statement apologising to the disruption for visitors, but “as supporters of Prince Charles”, the organisation was sure they “would understand and share his concerns about the climate catastrophe”.
Some Twitter accounts began to express concern about the Rebellion’s choice of target.
READ MORE: Prince Philip ‘hates being called green’ despite William’s tribute
Prince Charles has been an advocate for tackling the climate crisis for decades
One tweeted: “Prince Charles has been an environmental advocate for over 40 years, has installed renewables on his estates and buys carbon offsets to cover air travel. Need to do your homework.”
Extinction Rebellion’s account was quick to reply, and said: “Prince Charles’ environmental advocacy coupled with the power of their influence would have been one of the reasons why some Extinction Rebellion conscientious protectors encouraged them to do more earlier today.”
In a follow-up tweet, it claimed: “After speaking with Nigel Hunt from #ExtinctionRebellion in Cuba about the climate and ecological emergency, Prince Charles is now thinking about joining the rebellion.”
A Change.org petition calling to instate Charles as the “figurehead for this resistance movement” also started.
However, Charles has not spoken out about the activists in public and Extinction Rebellion has not confirmed his membership within the protest group, although both have continued to push a greener agenda.
Back in March, Extinction Rebellion noted that the world’s dramatic reaction to the pandemic proves governments can act quickly, and so must take greater action to stop climate change.
Prince William’s past ‘threatens to undermine’ environmental message [INSIGHT]
Prince Harry heartbreak as Santa Barbara’s devastating past unveiled [EXPLAINED]
Royal fear: ‘Ghastly object which made Charles shriek’ exposed [EXPOSED]
Extinction Rebellion blocking Oxford Circus last year
(L-R) Prince William, Sir David Attenborough, Prince Charles and Prince Harry are all environmentalists
Interestingly, Charles made a similar point shortly afterwards when he was speaking at a WaterAid event.
He said there must be the same level of response to climate change as there was to the pandemic, and urged the public to “put ourselves on a war footing” — although he did not acknowledge Extinction Rebellion’s previous comments.
One of the Royal Family’s close friends — national treasure, Sir David Attenborough — also had an encounter with Extinction Rebellion.
He told the BBC that the extreme actions of the Rebellion risks disenchanting “an awful lot of people” and that the group should avoid breaking the law — even though he champions the same cause as the organisation.
The Rebellion quickly responded and delivered a letter to the famous conservationist, along with some gifts.
The letter read: “We are a group of Extinction Rebellion activists and we bring you this letter to ask you for your help.
Sir David Attenborough pin-up was included in XR protests in April 2019
“For decades we have enjoyed your films and TV programmes. We share your deep concern for the living planet and the need you have expressed for immediate and decisive action to tackle the climate and ecological emergency.”
It continued: “You yourself have said, ‘we cannot be radical enough when dealing with climate change’.”
It then questioned why he had undermined the Rebellion’s tactics, and urged him “to rethink this position”.
It called for him to “recognise the role nonviolent civil disobedience plays when communicating to your global audience”.
The letter concluded: “We are not hooligans or extremists here out of a joy for breaking the law. We are mothers afraid for our children’s future.”