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.