Prince Charles Thinks of His Grandchildren as He Continues a Special Birthday Tradition

Stephanie Petit
·2 min read

BEN BIRCHALL/getty Prince Charles

Prince Charles is encouraging the world to look ahead.

For the third year in a row, the royal is guest editing Country Life magazine in honor of his birthday on Saturday, when he turns 72. In his article, he encourages readers to recognize hope despite a difficult year.

"The country, and the world, have experienced changes we could never have foreseen," Prince Charles wrote. "Uncertainty has become a steady state; the previously unimaginable has become unexceptional; the extraordinary has become normal. At such a time, it is tempting, and understandable, to focus on the losses, the failures and the challenges. However, if the life of the land teaches anything, it is the need to look at the long term."

Queen Elizabeth's eldest son and heir, who has been a strong advocate for conservation for decades, praised "the strength of our society: its resourcefulness, its compassion and its stoical determination" amid the coronavirus pandemic — and wants to apply the same traits to the fight against climate change.

"Like the threatened red squirrels collecting their hazelnuts or jays their seeds and acorns, we must be wise and far-sighted," he said, thinking of the next generations of his family. "We have a very short window of opportunity, which must not be squandered, in which to seize something good from this crisis and, as we rebuild, to put Nature, our planet and our children and grandchildren first."

RELATED: Prince Charles Launches Surprise Sustainable Fashion Line (with a $795 Shirt!)

Prince Charles has four grandchildren: Prince William and Kate Middleton's three kids — Prince George, 7, Princess Charlotte, 5, and Prince Louis, 2 — and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's 1-year-old son Archie.

Charles, who gave his speech regarding the topic of environmentalist back in 1968, was echoing similar remarks he made in June at a round table event hosted by HRH’s Sustainable Markets Initiative and The World Economic Forum about the balance between nature and humanity.

"Everything I have tried to do, and urge, over the past 50 years has been done with our children and grandchildren in mind," he said. "So, I can only encourage us all to think big and act now."

Can't get enough of PEOPLE's Royals coverage? Sign up for our free Royals newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!

After guest-editing Country Life for his 65th birthday, Prince Charles took on the role again in 2018 for his milestone 70th birthday — and every year since.