It's Come to This: Prince Charles Has Written a Book About Climate Change

16 JANUARY 2017

Prince Charles has long been a vocal supporter of climate change, and now he's taken things to the next level by co-writing a book on the topic.

The next-in-line to the British throne has joined forces with a polar scientist and an environmental campaigner to write The Ladybird Book on Climate Change, which is due out on January 26, and promises to be a basic guide for adults on the science of climate change.


In case you've missed the resurgence, the classic Ladybird books have made a comeback in recent years. They were originally popular as children's books in the '60s and '70s (ironically, there was even a Ladybird guide to Prince Charles' and Lady Diana's wedding in 1981).

But in recent years, the brand has made a comeback in the form of the Ladybird Books for Grown-Ups, which are tongue-in-cheek, spoof instruction manuals.

They use the same classic Ladybird illustration style, but offer guides to things like hangovers and hipsters. 


That series sold more than 3 million copies since 2015, and now publisher Penguin is launching a new series called The Ladybird Expert, which will offer simple, non-sarcastic guides to complex topics.

Prince Charles' 48-page climate change guide will be the first in the series.

It's not the first time the prince has been involved in climate change. He's made many addresses on the subject, famously called climate skeptics "the headless chicken brigade", and in 2013, before the birth of his first grandchild George, he told ITV:

"I don't want to be confronted by my future grandchild and them say: 'Why didn't you do something?' So clearly now that we will have a grandchild, it makes it even more obvious to try and make sure we leave them something that isn't a total poisoned chalice."


The idea for the book apparently came to him after he was invited to address the United Nations conference on climate change in Paris in 2015, and he noted the lack of basic guides out there on the complex subject. 

He pitched the idea to Penguin, and they decided to turn it into a whole new series.

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"It was a coincidence, where we were thinking about a new series for adults after the huge success of the spoof books, but this time wanted some factual books by experts on science, history and arts subjects," publisher Rowland White told the Sunday Times.

"So the call and the idea from Clarence House was the catalyst for the new series."

For the manuscript, Prince Charles teamed up with polar scientist Emily Shuckburgh from the British Antarctic Survey and environmentalist Tony Juniper.

The biggest challenge was fitting the latest and most accurate science possible into such a short format - the books usually don't contain more than a few sentences on a page. 

“His Royal Highness, Emily, and I had to work very hard to make sure that each word did its job, while at the same time working with the pictures to deliver the points we needed to make," Juniper told the Mail on Sunday. 

"I hope we’ve managed to paint a vivid picture, and like those iconic titles from the 60s and 70s, created a title that will stand the test of time."

The manuscript was reviewed by a group of scientists from the Royal Meteorological Society, as well as a team of seven other climate specialists, before it was given the all clear. 

So what do scientists think about the new series?

"There's the obvious danger that this won't be taken seriously," Phillip Williamson, an environmental scientist at the University of East Anglia, who wasn't involved in the new book, told the BBC.

"But if the style is right, and the information is correct and understandable, the new Ladybird book with royal authorship could be just what is needed to get the message across that everyone needs to take action on climate change."