Harry and Meghan Slammed for Climate Hypocrisy—Even After Flying Commercial

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been branded hypocrites over remarks made by the prince about climate change during his speech to the United Nations on Monday, despite reports that the couple "flew commercial" into New York for the event.

Harry has been vocal in raising awareness about climate change for a number of years along with his father Prince Charles and brother Prince William.

In 2019, Harry founded Travalyst, a service which promotes sustainable tourism.

Climate change was a key theme to the prince's speech at the U.N. on Monday marking Nelson Mandela International Day, saying that it was "wreaking havoc" on the planet and hitting the most vulnerable the hardest.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Climate Change
The royals have been branded hypocrites for private jet use after Harry referenced climate change in a U.N. speech despite a report that the couple "flew commercial" to the event. Photographed at Dublin airport, July 10, 2018. Dominic Lipinski/Pool/Getty Images

Speaking of the historic drought in Africa, Harry said: "The drought there is a reflection of extreme weather we are seeing across the globe. As I speak, our world is on fire, again.

"These historic weather events are no longer historic. More and more, they are a part of our daily lives, and this crisis will only grow worse... unless our leaders lead. Unless the countries represented by the seats in this hallowed hall make the decisions—the daring, transformative decisions—our world needs to save humanity."

This message has provoked some commentators to criticize Harry and Meghan for "lecturing" the public on climate change while they travel in private jets.

Climate Change Criticism

Broadcaster and vocal critic of the Sussexes, Piers Morgan, wrote in his column for The Sun newspaper in Britain: "It takes a special kind of brazen brass neck to stand up at the United Nations in New York, as he did today, and lecture the world about climate change when you constantly use luxury gas-guzzling private jets like a taxi service."

Morgan also cited an interview he conducted with Nelson Mandela's grandson Ndaba Mandela during which he asked about the Sussexes criticism relating to climate change.

Mandela responded that: "Every year we have the World Economic Forum and we all these heads of state coming in on their own private jets talking about climate change, so I think it's time we hold our leaders accountable and really let them put their money where their mouth is and say if they truly believe in climate change—whether it be Prince Harry or whether it be a head of state—people need to be held accountable."

Prince Harry UN Address Honoring Nelson Mandela
Prince Harry said "the world in on fire" in reference to climate change during his keynote speech to the U.N. commemorating Nelson Mandela International Day. July 18, 2022. David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

Right wing political commentator Meghan McCain also took aim at Harry in a column for the Daily Mail, saying: "Prince Harry is a hypocrite. Like so many others who spread the religion of climate change, he flies around the world on a carbon spewing private jet."

"He and his family jetted back across the pond to attend the Queen's Platinum Jubilee onboard a 13-passenger Bombardier Global 600 jet.

"According to emissions experts, their flight emitted 60 tons of carbon—that's 10 times more carbon than a commercial flight."

Royal commentator Rafe Heydel-Mankoo also added his astonishment that Harry should have been chosen to deliver a speech with a message about climate change to the U.N.

He told GB News: "If it wasn't so hot today you'd think it was April Fools' Day, because quite frankly asking Prince Harry to talk about climate change is akin to the Vatican asking Boris Johnson to talk about celibacy."

These comments come despite reports that Meghan and Harry both actually flew to New York in a commercial flight.

Flying Commercial

On July 18, the day of Harry's address to the U.N., TODAY show host Craig Mevin disclosed that the royal couple "flew commercial" and "sources tell me that [Harry] was watching Bad Boys the movie on the flight and [Meghan] was watching Serena [Williams] documentary."

Prince Harry's Travalyst Initiative
Prince Harry told reporters at an event launching his eco-travel initiative Travalyst that he flies commercial "99 percent of the time". September 3, 2019. Chris Jackson/Getty Images

In 2019 at the launch of the eco-travel initiative Travalyst, Harry spoke about his travel in private jets saying it is not something he chooses to do but is sometimes necessary.

"I spend 99 percent of my life traveling the world by commercial," he said at an event in Amsterdam. "Occasionally there needs to be an opportunity based on a unique circumstance to ensure that my family are safe, and it's genuinely as simple as that."

He continued: "For me, it is balance. And, if I have to do that—not a decision that I would want to take, but if I have to do that—then I would ensure, as I have done previously and I will continue to make sure that I do is to balance out that impact that I have.

"I've always offset my CO2."

Despite this commentary, each time the prince discusses climate change, his travel in private jets continues to be raised.

Most recently it was reported that the Sussexes traveled back to the U.S. from Britain where they were celebrating the queen's Platinum Jubilee via a private flight.

Newsweek contacted representatives of Harry and Meghan for comment.

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