Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, is currently on tour in the United Arab Emirates, utilizing the soft diplomacy of royalty to cement a close relationship with the Gulf State at the behest of the U.K. Foreign Office post-Brexit. During his visit, Prince William looks every inch the king and the influential monarch he’ll become, which may come sooner than he would like.
Simba from “The Lion King” couldn’t wait to be king, but for Prince William that’s a role and destiny that he shied away from for decades. However, in recent years he has seemingly fully embraced his future as King William V and has really been growing in his royal work.
This week, the Duke of Cambridge is in the UAE for the Expo 2020 and to further the aims of his Earthshot Prize, which is a “most prestigious global environmental prize in history.” Taking inspiration from President John F. Kennedy’s Moonshot, he is working to encourage others to develop new technology that could address climate change.
“This is the decisive decade,” Prince William said. “If we do nothing, by 2030 we’ll be speeding toward increasingly devastating planetary and humanitarian crises as a result of our changing climate.”
“We are still in a race against time,” he said.
As part of that effort, he launched the Abu Dhabi Mangrove Initiative, a joint project between the Environmental Agency – Abu Dhabi and the Zoological Society of London, it aims to “enable the mass scaling of mangrove recovery as a key nature-based solution to the biodiversity and climate crisis.”
During the one-day visit, in addition to advocating for climate change and stopping by the World’s Fair style 2020 Expo, the Duke of Cambridge also met with Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the son of Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
The visit is historic in many ways, a reminder of the time of transition that lies ahead.
The Queen marked 70 years on the throne earlier this month, and as the royal family moves towards the official celebrations in June, this Platinum Jubilee is sadly more of a swan song than a straightforward celebration.
The Queen is in the twilight of her reign, as such, Prince William and his wife Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, are going to become ever more central to the British monarchy.
In the first ten years of their marriage, the couple were blessed to enjoy a time of relative ease as they raised their children and slowly developed their royal roles, without the immense pressure of being the direct heirs, managing the Duchy of Cornwall and the weighty titles the Prince and Princess of Wales.
This trip reflects how William is continuing to grow into his role as king and is accepting more and more prestigious assignments from crown and country. No longer is an air ambulance pilot, a position that he readily enjoyed, but a future world leader.
He’s using his platform and influence to establish the Earthshot Prize and will be coming to the United States this year for the second awards event, much like Harry did with Invictus Games, starting in the U.K. before moving to the U.S. for the next one. This puts him ever more on the world stage.
His time as king will likely come quicker than he thinks. The Queen is 95 and is noticeably frailer in her most recent outings, and Prince Charles just this week was diagnosed with COVID, raising some concerns over health.
Regardless of when he inherits the title of king, which will be a day of both sadness and joy, Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, is showing the world that he will make one fantastic monarch.