In a pre-recorded speech broadcast in acceptance of an lifetime environmental achievement award, the Prince said green views that had once seen him written off as a “crank” were now backed by hard evidence.

He told the gala ceremony for the 7th International Green Awards at Battersea Power Station in London that fossil fuels and supplies of fresh water were under pressure while the stability of weather patterns was threatened and “vast amounts of CO2” were still pumped into the atmosphere. “Humanity and the Earth will soon begin to suffer some very grim consequences,” he said.

“It’s therefore an act of suicide on a grand scale to ride so roughshod over those checks and balances and flout nature’s necessary limits as blatantly as we do.