Prince Harry breaks silence on private jet travel as he unveils a new travel sustainability project

Publish Date
Wednesday, 4 September 2019, 10:07AM

After being slammed for taking a private jet to Ibiza and Nice for Meghan Markle's 38th birthday, Prince Harry has finally broken his silence on the accusations they're not "leading by example" when it comes to environmental issues.

The royal couple - who have a reputation for being "eco-warriors" - have now been labelled as hypocrites for not considering their carbon footprint with the environmentally-damaging flights.

But the 34-year-old royal - who has four-month-old son Archie with Meghan - has now defended his decision to fly private, which reportedly created seven times the normal amount of carbon emissions.

Speaking at a news conference in Amsterdam to launch the Sussex Royal Foundation's new initiative Travalyst, a new global initiative striving to change the impact of travel, he said: "We can all do better. And while no one is perfect, we are all responsible for our individual impact. The question is what we do to balance it out."

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We are excited to announce the launch of ‘Travalyst’, a global initiative striving to change the impact of travel, for good. Partnering alongside key travel industry giants @Bookingcom, #Ctrip, @Skyscanner, @TripAdvisor and @Visa_US, our aim is to spark a movement to transform the future of travel, putting communities at the heart of the solution. We believe in the power and importance of travel. We also have a shared responsibility to our planet and to each other. • “I want to start with a little bit of background as to specifically why I’m here today, because as you may know, I am not a tourism or business expert, but through my travels I have observed the unique relationship between community and environment, and have noticed something alarming. There wasn’t the symbiosis or connection there needed to be and I wanted to understand why. I am one of those people fortunate enough to have a platform and I want to use it to tackle hard problems, in the hope of finding solutions…and that’s how Travalyst was born” - The Duke of Sussex The name #Travalyst comes from The Duke and partners viewing our role in sustainable travel as catalysts to accelerate positive changes in travel. Travel + catalyst = Travalyst #Travalyst aims to make travel more sustainable, to help protect destinations and benefit communities long into the future, and to enable consumers to make more environmental friendly choices whilst traveling. The Duke of Sussex, having invited the founding partners to start the conversation, believes that the organisations - with operations in nearly every country, hundreds of millions of customers that use their products every day, and business relationships around the world - have sufficient influence and the critical mass necessary to catalyse real system change in the travel industry, for the benefit of destinations, communities and ecosystems. To discover more about the new initiative, visit

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"I came here by commercial. I spend 99 per cent of my life travelling the world by commercial. Occasionally, there needs to be an opportunity based on a unique circumstance to ensure my family are safe and it's genuinely as simple as that. But as I said in my speech, for me, it's about balance."

"If I have to do that, and it’s not a decision I would want to take, I would ensure, as I have done previously and I will continue to make sure I do, is a balance. I have always offset my CO2," he continued.

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• Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been slammed as being 'hypocrites' after holiday in Ibiza

"So today, after two years of behind-the-scenes conversations and planning, we're going to start with the tourism industry," he concluded.

Travalyst aims to help minimize companies’ environmental footprint, as well as protect and preserve local environments, welfare and cultural heritage.

Harry also joked about the positives of travelling without his wife and son, saying: "Having spent last night here. I don't know about you guys but it was definitely the best nights' sleep I've had for the last 4 months!"

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Today, during the launch event of the new global initiative ‘Travalyst’, The Duke of Sussex shared his remarks on the exciting new initiative from Amsterdam. #Travalyst, an initiative led by The Duke and founded by, Ctrip, Skyscanner, TripAdvisor and Visa, sees a pressing need for increased collaboration to make sustainability a priority across our entire travel experience - and we believe that collective, collaborative action will be critical to achieve this. The travel and tourism sector is constantly growing and contributes a significant impact to the world we live in today. The Duke sees it as one of the worlds biggest problems but believes this partnership can make it one its greatest solutions: • - 1.8 Billion trips will be made annually by 2030, and since 2000, the number of trips taken around the world has more than doubled - 71% of global travellers think travel companies should offer more sustainable options - $8.8 Trillion was generated to the global economy from travel and tourism last year - 57% of all international trips by 2030 will include emerging market destinations We plan to work closely with local communities and providers, leveraging technology to help scale sustainable supply to meet the growing mass-market demand from consumers - ultimately, making sustainable travel options of all kinds easier for consumers to identify, book and enjoy. Click our link in bio to read The Duke of Sussex full speech from today Photo ©️ SussexRoyal

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Harry's rare statement comes after former royal protection officer, Ken Wharfe - who protected Princess Diana and her sons Prince William and Harry in the '90s - called the Duke and Duchess of Sussex "hypocritical."

"Harry can’t be preaching about the catastrophic effects of climate change whilst jetting around the world on a private plane," Wharfe told Vanity Fair.

"We always flew commercial; in fact, I don’t remember flying private. It’s no guarantee that security is any better. You’re better off with BA security because they’re used to working with VIPs."