The Moving Moment Behind the Scenes at the Earthshot Prize Awards

 Prince William and Kate Middleton
Prince William and Kate Middleton

Here in the U.S., the second annual Earthshot Prize Awards will begin streaming at 2 p.m. EST on PBS.org and the PBS app beginning on Monday, December 5. You can also catch it on the Earthshot Prize YouTube channel. (You’ll definitely want to make time to watch, first of all for the stories of the winners and nominees, but also for the star-studded presenters and performers, the stage—trust us, it’ll blow your mind!—and, oh yeah, the Prince and Princess of Wales.)

When you do tune in, you’ll meet all of the nominees and the Prize’s five winners representing each of Earthshot’s five categories:

  • Clean our Air: Mukuru Clean Stoves, Kenya

  • Protect and Restore Nature: Kheyti, India

  • Revive our Oceans: Indigenous Women of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

  • Build a Waste-Free World: Notpla, United Kingdom

  • Fix our Climate: 44.01, Oman

You’ll also see live performances from Chloe x Halle (Prince William said, of their performance, that “the staging and the lighting was amazing”), Annie Lennox, and Ellie Goulding (William and Catherine are longtime fans—she was their wedding singer in 2011!). Billie Eilish also performs in a pre-recorded clip, and celebrity presenters include Rami Malek, Catherine O’Hara, Shailene Woodley, and, yes, even David Beckham (a big fan of the royals—remember how he queued along with the rest of the public for over 10 hours to pay his respects to Her late Majesty?).

“I’m honored to be invited by Prince William,” he said. “I’m an optimist, because humans are capable of great creativity when we collaborate.”

Prince William and Kate Middleton
Prince William and Kate Middleton

Other celebrities on hand included Caroline Kennedy and two of her children, Jack and Tatiana Schlossberg, John Kerry, and, of course, the Prince and Princess of Wales, hosts of the event. Catherine presented an award, and William delivered remarks, saying in part “I believe that the Earthshot solutions you have seen this evening prove we can overcome our planet’s greatest challenges, and by supporting and scaling them, we can change our future.” He added “the decisions we make now will affect generations to come.”

But there was a touching moment you won’t see that captured this writer’s heart: In between set changes, a video clip of Ed Sheeran singing “Visiting Hours” from last year’s Earthshot Prize Awards in London was shown. It was impossible to not hear the lyrics and look right at the Prince of Wales, who less than three months ago lost someone very significant to him, his beloved grandmother the Queen:

I wish that Heaven had visiting hours

So I could just show up and bring the news…

So much has changed since you went away.

I wish that Heaven had visiting hours

So I could just swing by and ask your advice

What would you do in my situation?...

What would you do? ‘Cause you always do what’s right…

‘Cause this is not goodbye, it is just ‘til we meet again

So much has changed since you’ve been away.

Throughout most of the song the Prince of Wales was chatting with others, but, for a few moments, he looked ahead, pensive, seemingly lost in his thoughts.

The Waleses fly out Saturday in a private departure.