Just call me Harry: Duke of Sussex drops titles at eco-travel launch in Edinburgh

26 February 2020, 14:50

Harry addressed the crowd on the importance of sustainable travel
Harry addressed the crowd on the importance of sustainable travel. Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

The Duke of Sussex was introduced to a crowd at a sustainable tourism event in Edinburgh today without any of his official titles, insisting he wants to simply be called 'Harry' from now on.

Harry took to the stage at the summit for his sustainable tourism project Travalyst where he was welcomed to deliver a speech.

In Harry's introduction, the compere told the crowd: "He's made it clear that we are all just to call him Harry, so ladies and gentlemen, let's give a big warm Scottish welcome... to Harry."

Harry and Meghan's lives as working royals will end on March 31, when they stop representing the Queen and become financially independent - after it emerged they would be stripped of their royal labels and their Sussex Royal branding.

Harry flew back to the UK on a commercial flight before boarding a train to Edinburgh to reach the event. He travelled solo without his wife Meghan or baby Archie.

Harry told the crowd: "We want to hear truths and perspectives from across the industry. We don't need to reinvent the wheel, a lot of great work has already been done.

Prince Harry pictured at the event in Edinburgh
Prince Harry pictured at the event in Edinburgh. Picture: PA

"But our research again shows that many of these endeavours have failed to reach the conscientiousness of consumers."

Harry added: "We have to work together... to scale up the good practices already being used around the world. Scotland is a great example of what we mean.

"There is a holistic ambition to Scotland's intent that can be adopted across the UK and even around the world.

"Scotland is one of the fastest growing tourism destinations worldwide and it's at the forefront of a more sustainable approach, which is why your insight into these issues is so incredibly valuable."

Prince Harry addressed the crowd at the event in Edinburgh
Prince Harry addressed the crowd at the event in Edinburgh. Picture: PA

The duke founded the Travalyst coalition along with brands including Booking.com, Skyscanner, Tripadvisor, Trip.com and Visa.

The conference at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre on Wednesday will allow Harry and his Travalyst team to gain feedback from the travel industry on new ideas for sustainability, including creating an online scoring system to show the eco-friendly status of aviation, accommodation and holiday experiences.

Harry, known as the Earl of Dumbarton in Scotland, welcomed delegates to the event, with about 100 people from the tourism and travel industries invited to join the working summit.

On launching Travalyst Amsterdam last autumn, he defended his use of private planes, saying he spent "99% of my life" using commercial flights, but occasionally needed to ensure "my family are safe".

At the time, Harry and Meghan faced mounting criticism after reportedly taking four private jet journeys in 11 days during the summer, apparently at odds with their views on supporting the environment.

A spokesman for the organisation said: "Our ambition is to transform travel and tourism so that every holiday people take, every trip they book, will have a positive impact and better protect the destinations and communities they visit.

"Whether it is through the activities people do, where they stay, or how they get there, we are looking for ways to make it easier for everyone to choose, and for the industry to provide, more purposeful and sustainable options."