If only Harry hadn’t waited for take-off


Poor Prince Harry. He’s been work­ing on his eco-tourism project for years and then right be­fore he launches it, ev­ery­one gets their knick­ers in a knot over his pesky pen­chant for pri­vate jets. Talk about fu­elling the furore.

If only he’d launched Trav­a­lyst a year ago — you know, when ev­ery­one loved him and his new bride Meghan, and we couldn’t get enough of the bare­foot duo and their mes­sage of love — the idea would have flown.

This time last year we se­ri­ously thought they were go­ing to change the world. But 12 months on, they have gone from adored to ab­horred; those three lit­tle letters equalling an al­pha­bet of pain.

Still, Harry likes a joke and surely the irony could not have been lost on the playful prince — start­ing a sustainabl­e-travel busi­ness amid the fall­out over one’s pri­vate jet habit is never go­ing to work.

As Harry trav­elled to Am­s­ter­dam on Tues­day to un­veil Trav­a­lyst, he must have been curs­ing the tim­ing.

The global ini­tia­tive with Book­ing.com, Ctrip, Skyscan­ner, TripAd­vi­sor and Visa states it is a “catalyst for change”, de­ter­mined to tackle the prob­lem of boom­ing tourism and its im­pact on the en­vi­ron­ment.

He has been hard at work on this ad­mirable idea, only to di­lute its mes­sage by jet­ting around Europe on his jolly hol­i­days.

Surely one must see the best way of cut­ting one’s car­bon emissions is to not make any.

Or if one must take mul­ti­ple hol­i­days, do so in the most car­bon-ef­fi­cient method pos­si­ble, which last time I checked doesn’t include pri­vate jets at 10 times the emis­sion per passenger than a com­mer­cial flight.

This is in the same week, don’t for­get, that a 16-yearold sailed across the At­lantic to a UN sum­mit be­cause of flight shame.

Harry tried to take it on the royal chin say­ing “no one is perfect” and that he spends “99 per cent of my life trav­el­ling

the world by com­mer­cial”, but sadly his statis­tic was im­me­di­ately un­der­mined when re­porters worked out in fact 60 per cent of the cou­ple’s trips since mar­ry­ing have been via pri­vate jet. Dou­ble drat. I’m not a Harry and Meghan basher. The vit­riol aimed at the pair — par­tic­u­larly the Duchess — makes me un­easy. I ad­mire their drive to do good and make a dif­fer­ence. But “do what I say, not what I do” isn’t a motto that has ever worked for any­one.

Ob­vi­ously, he can’t start cy­cling to func­tions or power a ped­alo to Africa for their up­com­ing tour, but tak­ing a pri­vate jet to Ibiza fol­lowed by Elton John’s plane to France doesn’t re­ally fit in with their In­sta in­spo.

When we’re all try­ing to do our bit for the en­vi­ron­ment, wan­der­ing home from Woolies with toma­toes in our pockets so we don’t use one plas­tic bag, it feels fairly fu­tile if oth­ers are torch­ing the planet to get to their lux­ury vil­las.

I have no doubt Harry and Meghan have the best in­ten­tions, but they can’t post on In­sta­gram, “there is a tick­ing clock to pro­tect our planet … Ev­ery choice, ev­ery foot­print, ev­ery ac­tion makes a dif­fer­ence”, and think that ex­cludes themselves.

They even in­cluded a quote from Greta Thun­berg say­ing: “You are never too small to make a dif­fer­ence.”

Or too big. Your High­nesses.

Prince Harry hits tur­bu­lence at the T rav­a­lyst launch this week.

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