LONDON: A children’s march to Buckingham Palace in central London on Saturday called for Britain’s Queen Elizabeth to back a new environmental approach on her estates and promote biodiversity across the country.
Scores of children and their parents joined the march across nearby Green Park to the queen’s official residence to deliver a petition with more than 100,000 signatures asking royals to "rewild" their land.
The throngs of children and adults, many of them wearing flowers in their hair, carried colourful banners and placards that urged the royal family to "rewild crown land".
The petition asks the family to return hundreds of thousands of hectares of land it owns to its natural state, encouraging the return of native species before the UN’s COP26 climate summit hosted by Britain in October.
Campaigners calculate the royals own land equivalent to 1.4 percent of the UK, much of which they say could be used to encourage nature.
TV presenter and naturalist Chris Packham, who led the march, said the demonstrators wanted to see the royals make the change on the "800,000 acres of land that they have in the UK," calling the march "the most harmonious, beautiful and peaceful demonstration".
Among the youngsters was Noah Macaulay, 16, a sixth-form student from Hampshire and co-founder of choir SOS from the Kids, which performed at the march and is also to perform at Cop26.
“They could really, really help to improve nature and help biodiversity.”
The royal family is the UK’s biggest landowner with an estate that includes lands owned by the duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall and the Queen. Campaign group Wild Card calculates the family owns land equivalent to 1.4% of the UK, much of which they say could be used to encourage nature.
Barbara Cope, 70, from Hampshire, whose granddaughter is a member of the choir, said: “I think it’s so wonderful the children are here to support rewilding and being aware of the environment. I think people will listen to children.”
A Royal Estates spokesperson said: “Members of the royal family have a longstanding commitment to conservation and biodiversity, and for over 50 years have championed the preservation and development of natural ecosystems”.
The Royal Estates are constantly evolving and looking for new ways to continue improving biodiversity, conservation and public access to green spaces, as well as being home to thriving communities and businesses which form part of the fabric of the local community.