Prince William was given a rock star welcome by hundreds of adoring fans in Singapore as he arrived on the island for the the third annual Earthshot Prize.
The heir was all smiles as he arrived the Jewel Changi Airport with cheering crowds holding up homemade signs, waving Union Jack flags and clutching photos of his late mother Princess Diana. At one point the royal was seen chuckling to himself and blushing as a person in the crowd shouted out ‘so handsome’ as he shook hands with those waiting.
The Prince of Wales chatted with children and took selfies with those eagerly lining the airport, as he walked through with Sim Ann, the country’s senior minister of state for foreign affairs minister. The eco-royal was given high praise by one finalist for the prestigious award who said William was ‘the bigger cheerleader for the planet’.
During his four-day trip around the Asian island, he will announce the next batch of companies and inventors to be handed £1million at the prestigious awards, as well as speak with previous winners.
Unlike in previous years when William and Kate attended ceremonies in Boston and London hand in hand, this year the Princess of Wales will stay at home with her children, helping George study for important exams. The ten-year-old Prince, who is in Year 6 at Lambrook prep school in Berkshire, will likely be sitting entrance exams to his future private school, being tested in mathematics, English and verbal reasoning.
William took a 13-hour commercial flights from the UK to arrive at the nature-themed complex at Changi Airport around 5.30pm local time. Wearing a dark navy suit, he was shown around the world’s largest indoor waterfall, which will be illuminated green this week to mark the arrival of Earthshot in Singapore. Opened in 2019, Jewel is a nature-themed entertainment and retail complex surrounded by and linked to one of the passenger terminals of Changi Airport.
The Prince shook hands and spoke with dozens of people, even allowing an eight-month-old baby to affectionally suck on his finger. The family with the baby, named Albane Costa, were on a three-day layover in Singapore from New Caledonia to France to visit father Ervan’s parents.
Speaking ahead of William’s arrival, Amna Yaacob, who was waiting in the crowd, said: ‘I’m so excited and shocked, I had no idea Prince William was coming.’ She added: ‘This is the one chance I will get in my life, it’s a dream.’
The prince said Singapore’s ‘bold vision to be a leader for environmental innovation sets the standard for others to follow’. He added: ‘I am grateful to the Singaporean people for hosting us this week. Let us all take inspiration from the fantastic work being done here as we celebrate this year’s Earthshot Prize finalists.’
A Tembusu tree was also planted to commemorate the visit – which is a well-known native plant to Singapore and features on its five dollar note. It was also chosen in recognition of the Tembusu sapling the late Queen planted at Jurong Hill during her visit to Singapore in 1972. The tree planting represents the first time a foreign or local dignitary has planted a tree at the Jewel.
After arriving in the country William took to X, formerly known as Twitter, sharing his excitement to be back on the island. He wrote: ‘Hello Singapore. It’s fantastic to be back in Singapore for this year’s Earthshot Prize ceremony, after eleven years. Singapore’s bold vision to be a leader for environmental innovation sets the standard for others to follow.
As William arrived on the continent Earthshot winner Gunnlaugur Erlendsson, who is the founder and chief executive of UK-based ENSO, praised the royal for ‘following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather’ to repair the planet.
The awards will see five category winners presented with £1 million each to scale up their environmental ideas.
Mr Erlendsson, whose company creates tyres designed for electric vehicles that are more sustainable and reduce tyre pollution, said the prince’s commitment to repairing the planet ‘means everything’. He said: ‘He is probably the biggest cheerleader for the planet at this stage. So, having him supporting not only by raising awareness of tyre pollution for ENSO, but also supporting our solution to tackle it has been phenomenal. There is no other person I think that could have given us as much support.’
Mr Erlendsson said the ‘honour is really to be nominated’ and that the £1 million would be a ‘nice extra bonus, but everyone gets the same exposure’. He said that ENSO being nominated has meant the ‘most famous person in the world’ is now talking about tyre pollution.
Mr Erlendsson has been in the Earthshot Prize’s fellowship retreat with the other finalists meeting companies which have helped them to craft their ‘messaging and missions’. He said the experience has been ‘absolutely an amazing journey’.
William visited ENSO during a trip to Sustainable Ventures, a working space which helps fund and support green firms, in October. The Prince also asked for feedback ‘on the Earthshot process and ways for them to improve’.
Meanwhile Orr Yarkoni, chief executive of Colorifix, which has headquarters in Norwich, said being a finalist was a ‘huge honour’ and the fellowship retreat has been ‘quite intense but very rewarding’. Colorifix uses DNA sequencing and nature’s own colours to create sustainable dyes that reduce the fashion industry’s use of water and harmful chemicals. Mr Yarkoni said he ‘echoes the prince’s sentiment of hope’ for fixing the planet.
In the dyeing sector colours are made illegal every year due to their impact on the environment, Mr Yarkoni said. He added the company, which has already worked with brands such as H&M, was approached by a ‘big luxury brand’ in 2019 for help as the red they use was being made illegal and the brand’s solution was to ‘stop making red things’.
During his four-day trip to Singapore, the prince will take part in Earthshot Week, a series of events bringing together businesses and investors with past winners and current finalists to accelerate their solutions.
William will also take part in dragon boating, meet Singaporeans to learn how they are working locally to protect the planet, and attend a United for Wildlife summit, aimed at tackling the illegal trade in animal parts.
Robert Irwin, son of the late Australian wildlife conservationist Steve Irwin, will join a host of stars including Oscar winner Cate Blanchett, producer Donnie Yen and actors Lana Condor and Nomzamo Mbatha announcing the winners at the ceremony on Tuesday. It has now been announced Emmy Award winning actor and producer Sterling K Brown will join Emmy winner Hannah Waddingham to co-host the awards. Bebe Rexha will perform, award-winning director and producer Donnie Yen will announce one of the five winners and Earthshot Prize Council member Sir David Attenborough will make a video appearance during the broadcast.
This is William’s first visit to Singapore since 2012 when he came to the country as part of a tour of South East Asia and the South Pacific with the then-duchess of Cambridge.
Original source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk