In addition to his royal duties and passion for architecture, Prince Charles is an avid gardener. It was in that spirit that he has spent the pandemic discussing the importance of spending time in nature, especially in moments of upheaval. Over the weekend, he expanded that message to children when he announced the Prince of Wales Nature Challenge, an invitation to the U.K.’s parents and children to do one outdoor activity a day during this week’s half-term break.
“Some of the charities I’m involved with have put together a series of challenges for you to give you a proper break this half-term week,” Charles said in a video. “Here’s a challenge for you. While you have a little time off from all your online learning, can you encourage your families to go out with you to take a really close look at the wonderful things nature is now doing, and how the same patterns occur over and over again?”
He also explained why it is particularly valuable to pay attention to the outdoors before spring starts. “It’s at this time of year that all sorts of wonderful things start happening as nature wakes up the world from its winter sleep,” he said. “Buds on trees will soon become leaves, bulbs will start pushing spring flowers up through the soil and we’ll soon be hearing the wonderful sound of birdsong every morning. These things will happen near you, whether you live in a town, a city or in the countryside.”
For each activity, representatives for one of Charles’s patronages will give directions in a video posted to the Clarence House social media accounts. On Monday, Garden Organic led a seed-planting workshop, and on Tuesday, protection organization Elephant Family gave a few suggestions for using natural materials to draw an elephant. Over the course of the week, the prince will also feature birding with the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, a miniature garden planting with the Royal Botanic Gardens, and a paperweight painting activity with the Wildlife Trust.
After he recovered from a case of COVID-19 last spring, Charles began to use technology to attend hospital openings, charity check-ins, and other engagements he would usually have done in person. He also shared emotional moments through Instagram, like his 15th anniversary with his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. Though he and Camilla returned to in-person engagements as soon as the first lockdown was lifted last July, they have continued to experiment with ways they can connect with an entirely new audience through social media. In January, Camilla began a book club called the Duchess of Cornwall’s Reading Room with its own Instagram for sharing recommendations and interviews. Last week, the account featured an interview with Daisy Edgar-Jones about her upcoming role in the film adaptation of Where the Crawdads Sing, one of the titles selected for the book club.