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Royal’s £1m prizes for five ideas that might save planet

© PAThe Prince and Princess of Wales arrive at the Earthshot awards in Boston on Friday
The Prince and Princess of Wales arrive at the Earthshot awards in Boston on Friday

A British firm making biodegradable plastic out of seaweed is one of five innovators to win £1 million from the prestigious Earthshot fund.

The awards, founded by the Prince of Wales and inspired by John F Kennedy’s Moonshot drive into space in the 1960s, support ground-breaking solutions to the climate crisis.

This year’s winners were revealed at an A-list ceremony in Boston where William and wife Kate were joined by celebrities including Annie Lennox, Ellie Goulding, Billie Eilish and David Beckham. Prince William told the audience: “The urgency needed to save the planet is ever accelerating, while the time we have to make meaningful changes is ebbing away.

“But just as President John F Kennedy had faith that humankind could put a man on the moon, I have the same faith today that we can repair and regenerate our planet in this critical decade.

“From Moonshot to Earthshot, the seemingly unsolvable can be solved.”

Kate thanks fan who spent a thousand dollars to meet her for seconds in Boston

UK company Notpla, which is creating an alternative to plastic packaging from seaweed, was among the winners along with a Kenyan business making stoves run on plant-based biomass and a project from Oman which turns carbon dioxide into rock.

The royal couple’s US trip was overshadowed, however, by controversy at home after William’s godmother Lady Susan Hussey resigned from her role at Buckingham Palace after being accused of racism. Lady Hussey, the late Queen’s lady-in-waiting, repeatedly asked where a black British charity founder “really came from”.

Meanwhile, a trailer for a Netflix documentary involving Prince Harry and wife Meghan Markle, who has accused the royal family of racism, was released while William and Kate were in the US. In the clip, the Duke of Sussex hints at his reasons for leaving the UK: “I had to do everything I could to protect my family.”