Jacinda Ardern joins Prince William's climate project months after snubbing Harry and Meghan

4 April 2023, 13:31 | Updated: 4 April 2023, 17:57

Former New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern has joined Prince William's Earthshot Prize
Former New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern has joined Prince William's Earthshot Prize. Picture: Alamy

By Chris Samuel

Jacinda Ardern has joined Prince William's Earthshot Prize just months after distancing herself from Harry and Meghan, insisting her appearance in a series they co-produced wasn't connected to the couple.

Ms Ardern, who resigned as Prime Minister of New Zealand in January, has joined the project's board of trustees.

Founded by William in 2020, the prize encourages individuals and companies to come up with creative solutions to major environmental problems.

It comes just months after Ms Ardern distanced herself from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle over their Netflix series Live to Lead, in which she appeared.

Announcing the appointment, the Earthshot Prize tweeted: "We're delighted to welcome @JacindaArdern to The Earthshot Prize Board of Trustees.

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"Her lifelong commitment to sustainable development & climate action align powerfully with our ambition to protect and restore our planet by 2030.

"We're honoured she joins us in this new role!"

Jacinda Ardern
Jacinda Ardern. Picture: Alamy

The Sussexes's Live to Lead series was released in December, with one episode featuring an interview with Ms Ardern.

But she distanced herself from the couple with a statement explaining that the interview had been conducted two and a half years before Harry and Meghan got involved.

It was produced in collaboration between the Nelson Mandela Foundation, Blackwell & Ruth and The Sussexes' Harry and Archewell Productions.

Prince of Wales speaks to the Earthshot Prize 2022 finalists, as he joins them at the Earthshot Prize Fellowship Retreat in Windsor, on January 26, 2023
Prince of Wales speaks to the Earthshot Prize 2022 finalists, as he joins them at the Earthshot Prize Fellowship Retreat in Windsor, on January 26, 2023. Picture: Getty

It also features US basketball star Steph Curry, feminist activist Gloria Steinem, climate campaigner Greta Thunberg, and late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

But following the news that Harry and Meghan were to feature, Ms Ardern's office put out a statement clarifying that the interview was conducted before she knew they were to introduce the series.

It said: "In May this year, the prime minister’s office was notified that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would introduce the series; noting this was nearly two and a half years after the interview had been recorded and permission for its use by the Mandela Foundation had already been provided.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. Picture: Alamy

"All communication throughout has been with the foundation (there has been no communications with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex regarding the project)."

Ms Ardern stepped down as New Zealand's Prime Minister in January, admitting "I no longer have enough in the tank to do it justice. It’s that simple."

“I am human, politicians are human. We give all that we can for as long as we can. And then it’s time. And for me, it’s time," adding that she hoped to spend more time with her family.

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