Prince William makes solo appearance at climate event hours after Kate apologised amid 'Photoshop' row

11 March 2024, 22:26

Prince William attended the Earthshot Prize awards this evening
Prince William attended the Earthshot Prize awards this evening. Picture: Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Prince William stepped out for a solo appearance at a climate change event hours after he was seen leaving Windsor with his wife Kate.

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Princess Kate was forced to apologise after an image of her and her three children released on Mother's Day was 'killed' by multiple picture agencies following claims it had been edited.

Hours after apologising, Kate was seen leaving Windsor, with her husband William in the car beside her.

Prince William later appeared at the Earthshot Prize Launchpad and warned that now is the "critical decade" to try and set the planet on a "healthier" path to deal with the climate crisis.

William was speaking in central London as he joined supporters of the new platform, aimed helping develop and make potential climate change solutions a reality.

When William founded the Earthshot Prize environmental award in 2020, he did so with the 10-year mission to find ways to protect and repair the environment with innovative solutions.

On Monday, William told guests at the launch event he wanted "to mobilise the enormous power of innovators, wherever they are in the world."

Prince William at the Earthshot Prize Launchpad
Prince William at the Earthshot Prize Launchpad. Picture: Alamy

He told those gathered, including former New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern who is an Earthshot Prize trustee: "From businesses, cities and governments; to activists, scientists and innovators, the ideas and ambition to set our planet on a healthier path do already exist. But this is urgent.

"We are in the critical decade now. And that is why, to have real impact, we must focus on supporting and developing as many solutions as possible and scale them at speed. It is not an easy task.

"We must overcome the challenge of getting capital to the right sectors, solutions, and geographies."

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Since 2021, the award scheme has handed out £15 million of prize money and sourced £50 million of further support for 45 winners and finalists.

William added that to try and have "real impact" effort must be made to focus on "supporting and developing as many solutions as possible and scale them at speed - it is not an easy task".

Prince William in central London this evening
Prince William in central London this evening. Picture: Alamy

The new pilot platform has been set up to connect funders to current and former finalists and nominees and support their funding needs and development.

So far there are 25 solutions with funding needs of more than 500 million US dollars (£390 million) which are currently spotlighted by Launchpad and 135 institutional investors are already signed up as members, William said.

Hannah Jones, chief executive of the prize, said: "Launchpad marks a significant step forward for The Earthshot Prize on its journey to scaling innovative solutions from around the globe and becoming a global platform for impact.

"Over the last four years, the prize has scoured the planet for the best environmental innovations.

"Now, with the knowledge we've gained from our annual nomination process, we are empowering investors and philanthropists to discover the incredible solutions in our network, while opening doors for promising innovations to further scale."

The Launchpad is billed as an online match-making platform that links Earthshot innovators with like-minded investors and philanthropists.

Launchpad is to offer access to a database of scalable environmental solutions and information about their current funding needs.

Then, these funders can browse and discover potential matches.

Over the next year, the prize hopes to triple the number of solutions on the platform by including standout nominees from every sector and geography, in addition to those who have been winners and finalists.

Frederick Teo, chief executive of a firm called GenZero which is a potential supporter, who has already started to look into the platform, believes Launchpad could help "play a critical role" in connecting investors "with impactful and innovative solutions that aim to tackle the pressing global climate crisis".

Anuradha Bajaj, the Earthshot Prize's director of innovation marketplace and investments, said: "The Launchpad is one-of-a-kind because it brings together a diversity of funders - small and large investors, banks and asset managers, family offices, foundations, and public donors - who can collectively meet the needs of the remarkable solutions in our database.

"Whether it's an African start-up, Asian advocacy group, or European non-profit, we want to showcase the best solutions that can help restore and regenerate our planet."

The event was held after a day of controversy over a digitally manipulated photograph of Williams's family.

Kate Middleton's digitally altered image
Kate Middleton's digitally altered image. Picture: Kensington Palace

Earlier on Monday the Princess of Wales publicly took the blame for the manipulated family photograph released by Kensington Palace as she issued a personal apology for the "confusion".

Kate said sorry with a statement on social media which read: "Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing.

"I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused. "I hope everyone celebrating had a very happy Mother's Day. C."

The photograph of Kate and her children, taken by William, was the first to be issued since the princess's abdominal surgery and was released by the palace to mark Mother's Day.

But it was withdrawn with a "Kill" notice by international picture agencies hours later, and the UK's PA news agency on Monday, because of suspicions it had been manipulated.