The Royal Train is heading west today to Cornwall, where the G7 meeting begins. On board are Queen Elizabeth, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who will meet world leaders at Project Eden.
It will be the first major engagement involving all high-level members of the UK Royal Family since the pandemic and President Joe Biden’s first meeting with any royal since taking office five months ago. On Sunday, Biden will travel from Cornwall to Windsor Castle, where he and Jill Biden will receive a royal reception from the Queen.
But it is Prince Charles, the future king, who has the most to gain from Friday’s meeting. It will host a reception for G7 leaders and company CEOs to discuss climate crises and biodiversity loss.
The backdrop for the Eden Project will be appropriate for the occasion: giant bio-domes house a tropical rainforest where visitors receive information on the effects of climate change.
Friday’s meeting comes after Prince Charles, who is also the Duke of Cornwall, met John Kerry, the United States’ special presidential envoy for climate, in London.
At a meeting of the Sustainable Markets Initiative on Thursday (June 10), the first face-to-face meeting of its kind since the pandemic, Prince Charles told Kerry and global CEOs that they have a “revolutionary opportunity to push forward the partnerships between government, business and private sector finance “.
The Prince of Wales took the opportunity to remind people of his “Earth Charter” or the Earth Charter roadmap for a more sustainable future. Prince Charles launched the idea at the One Planet Summit in January with the intention of persuading companies to sign the Terra Charter, which asks supporters to “recognize” the need for zero net commitments by 2020 “and, where possible , long before”.
However, the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic quickly gobbled up any publicity or promises. Undeterred, Prince Charles continued the online meetings, until today.
Present at Thursday’s meeting at St James Palace were CEOs of the world’s leading companies, which collectively manage more than $ 60 trillion in assets. Among them were the heads of HSBC, NatWest, State Street, EY and AstraZeneca.
Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America, called the meeting “an important next step to help drive sustainable finance.”
What Prince Charles and President Biden Will Talk About
The combined presence of all high-level members of the Royal Family at such an important event, and in a place renowned for its biodiversity, is designed to send a powerful message to the G7 leaders.
Prince Charles wants companies and world leaders to do more to reverse climate change and biodiversity loss.
There are indications that this is working. “I agree with His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales,” French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday. “Redirecting private finance flows towards sustainable investments is a cornerstone of France’s climate action agenda.”
Prince Charles hopes he can win another ally in Biden. In a letter sent to the newly elected president earlier this year, Prince Charles said he was “enormously encouraged” by Biden’s efforts to make climate change a top priority of his presidency.
In the run-up to the G7 summit, Prince Charles is known to have pushed for a private audience with Biden. A royal biographer, Robert Jobson, said last month that the prince was “very interested” in meeting Biden.
However, it will not be the first time that the two meet. During his tour of the United States with the Duchess of Cornwall in 2015, Prince Charles met with then-Vice President Biden at the White House.
Four years later, Prince Charles met with his predecessor, Donald Trump, during the latter’s visit to the UK in 2019. The couple also discussed climate change at the time, but little came out of the talks. Friday’s meeting with Biden is expected to be more fruitful.