Enthusing about genetically modified crops and dismissing the effects of climate change and veganism couldn’t be further away from the green views of Prince Charles.
But these are the very forthright opinions of his sister, Princess Anne.
Giving a rare interview to mark her 70th birthday next month, the Queen’s fiercely independent daughter jokes that her conversations with her elder brother are by necessity ‘short’ due to their wildly differing opinions.
Charles has openly lobbied against genetically modified crops, but Anne counters: ‘It has been an enormous advantage in many parts of the world to use GM wisely for very specific environments.
‘It makes it much more likely to be able to grow what you need.
‘I have to remind people that rapeseed oil was only made non-toxic to humans by the Canadians after the Second World War by genetically modifying the plant.
‘It’s [ironically] quite popular with all those people who don’t like GM.’
Asked if she and Charles have conversations about farming, she quips: ‘Yes… occasionally, but rather short.’
‘I don’t go down the climate change route’
The princess was speaking to Australian Women’s Weekly magazine via a video call from Gatcombe Park, the 500-acre Gloucestershire estate and farm where she has spent lockdown.
Princes William and Harry as well as Charles have linked last year’s devastating Australian bushfires to climate change, but Anne said: ‘I don’t even go down the climate change route.
‘I think the way people manage ground is part of the discussion… Climate changes all the time. It has done so throughout the globe’s history, so there’s nothing new under the sun.
‘Somehow, we’ve got to learn that our kind of life is changing. We’ve got to remember to respect what’s out there and how to live with it.’
Talking with admiration of Australia’s indigenous population, she said: ‘They’ve got a lot more knowledge and I suspect their ability to pass on the relevant knowledge is better than us.
‘First Nations people have a much better understanding of what the dangers are, and fire would have been a massive danger throughout their existence.
‘They know Australia a lot better than anybody else. I suspect they existed in quite a lot of climate changes already.’
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