NEW YORK ― New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Queen Rania of Jordan paid tribute to Queen Elizabeth II at Prince William’s Earthshot Prize Innovation Summit on Wednesday, two days after they attended the late monarch’s state funeral at Westminster Abbey.
The queen was “someone who was focused, committed and demonstrated what could be achieved when you show fortitude and longevity,” Ardern said at the kickoff event for this year’s Earthshot Prize Awards, which will take place on Dec. 2 in Boston.
“We need all those same characteristics to take on all of the environmental challenges ahead of us,” Ardern added.
The Prince of Wales launched the environmental awards in 2020, aiming to promote and fund solutions to help the planet over the next decade.
He did not attend this year’s summit following the death of his grandmother, because the royal period of mourning extends to next week.
Ardern said that she was “humbled” to have been asked to speak on the prince’s behalf.
“I am an exceptionally poor substitute” for the prince, Ardern said, adding that he would join the summit via a virtual message. “But we all understand the need for His Royal Highness to be with his family at this time.”
Queen Rania, a member of the Earthshot Prize Council, began her speech on Wednesday by thanking William “for his leadership and vision, which he is always committed to seeing through, much like his late grandmother, Queen Elizabeth.”
“She set the bar incredibly high with her deep sense of duty and resilience,” Jordan’s queen said. “May she rest in eternal peace.”
The Prince of Wales will travel to Boston later this year for the 2022 Earthshot Prize Awards. Hannah Jones, CEO of the Earthshot Prize, told HuffPost that people can expect entertainment and inspiration out of the December awards show. Last year, the show featured performances from Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Shawn Mendes, Nigerian singer Yemi Alade and English rapper KSI.
“Above all, you’re going to see solutions that will spark your imagination and make you really feel urgency and optimism that we have it within our reach to make change happen,” Jones said in an interview at the Plaza Hotel, adding that Earthshot really aims to “be the antidote to climate anxiety.”
“We want people to realize, yes, we all need to be worried. There is a climate crisis and there are so many really challenging issues happening in the world right now,” she said. “But there is an entire movement out there that we don’t see yet of people dedicating their lives and their thinking and their talent to fixing the world’s problems and coming up with solutions.”
Jones said she hopes this year’s awards program “gives everybody inspiration and it rekindles that American mindset of turning the seemingly impossible possible.”
Jones said the initiative “couldn’t be more thrilled” to have the awards show in Boston this year, given the “great source of inspiration” Earthshot drew from President John F. Kennedy, who was born in the Boston area.
“It’s the 60th anniversary, as you know, of the ‘Moonshot,’” she said. “And that was really a great source of inspiration to Prince William when he founded the Earthshot Prize, which was to try to inspire what President Kennedy inspired in the American people.”
The former president unleashed “a wave of innovation that would not just get a man on the moon and bring them home safely, but actually change economic and social progress for good, but also that mindset that went with it,” Jones said.