On Monday, November 30, 2015, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales gave a speech during the opening session of the United Nations Climate Conference COP21 in Paris, France.
On Monday, November 30, 2015, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales received the 2014 Prix François Rabelais from the Fondation Européenne pour le Patrimoine Alimentaire at the Institut de France in Paris, France.
The future king was given the award for his commitment to protecting the environment as well as his dedication to organic farming.
Below is the transcript of The Prince of Wales’ acceptance speech:
“M. President, Mesdames et Messieurs,
I can only begin by saying how heavy my heart is at the dreadful anguish suffered by those who lost their loved ones in the unspeakable atrocities of two weeks ago and how my deepest sympathy and solidarity are with the French people.
Against a background of such inhuman violence and terror, it is almost impossible to talk sensibly about matters of everyday civilization. Yet that is what I propose to do, because in the face of such awfulness it may help to be reminded of the simple and timeless human values that lie at the heart of our society. Indeed there is plenty in the writings of Maître François Rabelais himself to suggest that he placed great importance on good-natured hospitality, with friendship and sincerity seemingly at the heart of the many gastronomic and well-lubricated banquets that he took such pleasure in describing.
Rabelais, in his writings, lets on from time to time his penchant for the products of his region: andouille, the Williams pear, the diverse fish of the Loire, and of course the immortal wines of Chinon, Saumur and Saint-Nicolas de Bourgueil. All 100% organic, naturally…
I cannot imagine that Rabelais would ever have compromised on the quality, or the diversity, of food, and neither should we. The distinctiveness of local cuisine is one of the most important ways we identify with the places and regions we love. Timeless values such as sustainability, cultural identity, community, health and taste – intangible things that nourish body, mind and the human spirit – are more important than pure convenience or soulless “efficiency.” So, too, is the health of the soil, which underpins all human existence as much today as it did five hundred years ago.
The latest research shows that the world’s soils hold three times as much carbon as the entire atmosphere. As part of the momentous international discussions taking place on climate change in this city at this very moment, your Government is launching an important initiative to draw attention to this very point. They have calculated that if the quantity of carbon contained in soils could be increased by just 0.4% per year, the annual increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could be halted. The same measures would, of course, also improve soil fertility and therefore our ability to feed a growing population. So it will not surprise you to know that this seems to me to be a hugely important and timely initiative! I can only hope it will be given proper attention by policymakers.
I have spent many years, and a good deal of breath, extolling the benefits of working with Nature – harnessing positive forces through healthy soil, healthy crops and healthy animals, to provide healthy food for people; trying to encourage a more holistic approach to farming, forestry and the rich diversity of food production; battling for the survival of the small family farmer and their vital role in rural communities and local food systems both in the United Kingdom and around the world – even, back in 1992, as Patron of the Specialist Cheesemakers Association of the U.K., mounting a vigorous defence here, in Paris, of our precious specialist cheeses against the bureaucratic predations of the “hygiene and health and safety gestapo.” I remember saying then that the very phrase “minimum hygiene standards” should strike terror to the hearts of any true born Frenchman and all the other people who find that life is not worth living unless you can have a choice of all the gloriously unhygienic things which mankind – especially the French portion of it! – has lovingly created out of the fruits of God’s earth.
In a bacteriologically correct society, I asked, what will become of the Brie de Meaux, the Crottin de Chavignol or the Bleu d’Auvergne? In a microbe-free, progressive and genetically engineered future, what hope is there for the old-fashioned Fourme d’Ambert, the mal-formed Gruyère de Comté or the odorous Pont L’Eveque? Will this obsession for licensing, categorizing, homogenizing and pasteurizing see the emasculation of the sturdy old Roquefort, the Camembert, the Reblochon and even the ubiquitous Vacherin? It may sound silly to say so, but a very important part of the whole magnificent edifice of European civilization rests on the inherited genius and craftsmanship of the people who make such distinguished concoctions.
Ladies and gentlemen, I could not be more profoundly touched or proud to have been awarded the François Rabelais prize by your Foundation. It is an immense honour and one that I will treasure, not least when I look at the list of previous winners and the contributions they have made to French gastronomy. I note with all humility that I am in very illustrious company!
Even when accepting a prize in the name of the foremost historian and advocate for the history and culture of French and European food, I find myself unable to recommend the consumption of herons, swans or peacocks, all of which featured regularly in the feasts of Rabelais. There is, however, in the description of a banquet in Gargantua, a reference to four hundred capons from Cornwall. And so I will certainly consider proposing to the farmers of the Duchy the reintroduction of this delicate dish — now very rare indeed — to the honour of Maitre Francois, and to the culinary Entente Cordiale…
Ladies and Gentlemen, I am deeply grateful to you for the honour you have done me this afternoon and I can only wish you every possible success in continuing to defend the history, culture and survival of real food, without which all our lives would become utterly insufferable.”
On Monday, November 30, 2015, His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan, His Majesty King Carl Gustaf of Sweden, and His Royal Highness Prince Moulay Rachid of Morocco, His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani of Qatar, and His Highness Shaikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain attended the opening of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference COP21 in Paris, France.
Government officials, intergovernmental organizations, UN agencies, NGOs, and world leaders including the President of the United States, Mr. Barack Obama, and the President of Russia, Mr. Vladimir Putin, attended today’s important conference.
The overall goal of the twelve-day COP21 conference is to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C.
Please click here to view photos of the arrival of guests to the COP21.
On Monday, November 30, 2015, Her Majesty Queen Letizia of Spain attended the Seminario sobre Nutrigenómica (Seminar on Assistance Nutrigenomics) held at the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas in Madrid.
Her Majesty is the Special Ambassador of the Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la Alimentación y la Agricultura.
Photo courtesy of Casa Real
On Monday, November 30, 2015, Her Majesty Queen Maxima of the Netherlands arrived at the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ in Amsterdam to attend the 2015 Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Prijs.
The winner of the prize went to Dutch architect and creative director of Mecanoo, Ms. Francine Houben.
Photo courtesy of Zimbio
On Sunday, November 29, 2015, Their Serene Highnesses Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco accompanied by their adorable twins — Princess Jacques and Princess Gabriella — participated in the March for Climate walk in Monaco-ville, Monaco.
The event, organized by the Fondation Prince Albert II de Monaco (FPA), was held ahead of the COP21 which takes place in Paris, France, on November 30, 2015. The purpose of the walk in Monaco was to raise awareness on climate change as well as to urge decision-makers about the desperate need for concerted action for the fight against the effects of climate change.
According to the Palais Princier over 1,000 people participated in this morning’s walk which began in front of the Place du Palais and ended at the Stade Louis II in Fontvieille.
Photos courtesy of the Palais Princier
On Saturday, November 28, 2015, His Royal Highness Prince Harry of Wales participated in the Sentebale Royal Salute Polo Cup held at the Val de Vie in Cape Town, South Africa.
Over ten years ago HRH Prince Harry of Wales and Prince Seeiso of Lesotho established the organization Sentebale to “…help the vulnerable communities of Lesotho.”
Photo courtesy of Konghuset
Held under the theme, Friendship, the 55-day festival transforms Amsterdam:
“…every year into a true city of lights with the help of contemporary (inter)national light artists. During the annual festival for young and old, both the residents of Amsterdam and the city’s many visitors are treated to a spectacle of light. At the same time, the festival offers talented (young) light artists a platform to present their latest work.”
If you are interested in learning more about the Amsterdam Light Festival please click here.
Photo courtesy of RVD/HKH
On Friday, November 27, 2015, Her Royal Highness Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands opened the exhibition, Spaanse Meesters uit de Hermitage: De Wereld van El Greco, Ribera, Zurbarán, Velázquez, Murillo & Goya (Spanish Masters from the Hermitage: The World of El Greco, Ribera, Zurbarán, Velázquez, Murillo & Goya), at the Hermitage Amsterdam in Amsterdam.
The exhibition displays over sixty paintings including The Apostles Peter and Paul by El Greco, Velázquez’s Portrait of the Count Duke of Olivares, Murillo’s Immaculate Conception, and Goya’s Portrait of the Actress Antonia Zárate.
According to a press release the exhibition tells the story of the rise and glory of Spanish art in the Golden Age which began in the late sixteenth century:
“…and flourished throughout the seventeenth century, coinciding with the Dutch Golden Age. While the Netherlands was revolting against Spanish rule, Spain was developing its own artistic signature. Philip II, an absolute monarch in a society dominated by the Catholic Church, commissioned the construction of El Escorial in 1563. The enormous palace and monastery complex near Madrid was decorated by great Spanish and Italian masters. Spain’s unimaginable wealth, amassed largely during the country’s period of colonial gold fever – Spain called itself ‘the Empire on which the sun never sets’ – brought painters abundant commissions for the king, churches and private collectors. Spanish art flourished.
The works of the great Spanish painters are exceptional for their exquisite convergence of the spiritual and the theatrical. Influenced by the Italians, painters like El Greco, Ribera and Zurbarán developed a singular Spanish style marked by strong contrasts of light and dark. Their works exude the temperament and pride of the Iberian Peninsula. Murillo and in particular Velázquez, a trendsetter, added their own signature to that style and reached new heights. Goya, an equally awe-inspiring talent, followed in their footsteps with his confrontational realism. Goya is also famous for his penetrating graphic cycles and a number of his dramatic etchings are featured in the exhibition, including pieces from Los Desastres de la Guerra, depicting the horrors of the Napoleonic occupation of Spain. The artists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries continued the tradition, rendering the strong contrasts in society in works that reflect both the sun-drenched Spanish culture and the dark sides of history…”
Spaanse Meesters uit de Hermitage: De Wereld van El Greco, Ribera, Zurbarán, Velázquez, Murillo & Goya will be open to the public beginning on November 28, 2015 – May 29, 2016 at the Hermitage Amsterdam.
Photo courtesy of RVD/HKH
On Friday, November 27, 2015, Her Majesty Queen Maxima of the Netherlands attended the closing session of the financial support workshops for women entitled, Kracht On Tour, held at the Fokker Terminal in Den Haag.
According to AFP News the workshops “…deal with financial independence for women and encourage women to grab more chances to use their talents on the work floor…”
Photo courtesy of Getty Images/M.Porro
On Tuesday, November 24, 2015, Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan met with the Director-General of the Arab Reading Challenge, Ms. Najla Al Shamesi, in Amman.
During their meeting Her Majesty was informed about the Arab Reading Challenge initiative which “…supports for efforts to increase awareness on the importance of reading among students in the Arab world…” writes the Jordan Times.
Established in September 2015 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai the Arab Reading Challenge is noted to be largest project aimed at encouraging students in the Arab world to read, with more than a million students committing to read 50 million extracurricular books every academic year.
Overall, the initiative aims to encourage reading on a continuous basis through a comprehensive system of incentives and follow-up mechanisms throughout the academic year. The Emirates News Agency notes that the “…challenge also includes several rounds of evaluation and qualification at the level of each school, educational zone, country, and finally the Arab world. The challenge seeks to create a new generation with excellent reading skills and a thirst for knowledge.”
On Thursday, November 26, 2015, His Royal Highness Prince Harry of Wales visited Maseru, Lesotho, on behalf of the charity, Sentebale.
The day began with a meeting with the Prime Minister of Lesotho, Dr. Pakalitha Mosili. Prince Harry also met with His Majesty King Letsie III of Lesotho.
In the afternoon, the popular prince officially opened the £2 million Mamohato Children’s Centre at Thaba Bosiu. According to ITV News, the center is “…a purpose-built home for the organization’s (Sentebale) work with disadvantaged children and other youngsters living with HIV.”
For more information about today’s opening as well as to view photos please click the links below.
And, finally, here is the 2004 documentary, that you may enjoy entitled, The Forgotten Kingdom: Prince Harry in Lesotho.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images/Chris Jackson