The weird thing about being a British royal is that you have to pretend to care about serious issues while knowing f**k all about them. You can’t get ‘too political’ when talking about things like poverty or mental health so you have to offer milquetoast buzz-phrases and empty promises that look good in speeches but do nothing to address the intrinsic problems. That doesn’t stop the House of Windsor from sticking its foot into its mouth all the damn time, of course. It does, however, reveal just how pathetically out-of-touch this generation of ‘modern royalty’ is.
Prince William is at it this time, speaking at the Tusk conservation awards in London last night for some reason. There’s just something about royals talking about Africa that makes me nervous, as if they’re constantly restraining themselves from using the term ‘the colonies.’ Old Billy Cambridge didn’t go that far, but he did echo an old and super creepy talking point about ‘overpopulation’ on the continent that made a lot of people pretty angry.
He said, ‘The increasing pressure on Africa’s wildlife and wild spaces as a result of human population presents a huge challenge for conservationists, as it does the world over.’ This echoes comments he made in 2017 where he said that Africa’s ‘rapidly growing human population’ put ‘enormous pressure’ on wildlife habitats. He made that comment while expecting his third child.
It’s always nice when a family known for breeding and shooting start telling an entire continent what to do when it comes to their people and wildlife, right? It’s not as if the royals have a long history of the charity Population Matters, which is dedicated to tackling population growth as it pertains to environmental degradation, came out in support of William’s comments. They have faced criticism over the years for advocating for policies such as stopping child benefit and tax credits for third and subsequent children, and for claiming that Britain should not accept refugees from Syria in 2014. Interesting how this isn’t political but Meghan Markle supporting paid parental leave for Americans is.
Wherever you stand on issues of overpopulation — and it’s worth remembering how often that issue is wielded as a battering ram against poor families, people of color, and entire damn continents — perhaps we can all agree that the father of three who owns thousands of acres of land across the UK hasn’t got a leg to stand on here.
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