Prince Charles: We can learn from ancient Egyptians in the fight against climate change

Royal Editor Chris Ship is travelling with the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall during their Middle East tour

Humans of today can learn from ancient civilisations in the battle against climate change, according to Prince Charles. He was speaking in Cairo, after visiting the Great Pyramids of Giza with the Duchess of Cornwall on the first day of a two-day visit to Egypt.

The ancient Egyptians understood that nature was essential to life and death, the prince told an audience who had gathered at an evening reception overlooking the pyramids.

Egypt is the host county of the COP27 UN climate change summit next year and has now taken the baton from Glasgow - which hosted COP26.

Charles said: “It defies the imagination to consider how your ancestors with rudimentary tools were able to construct such massive and magnificent edifices and align them almost perfectly North to South.”

And the pyramids, he said, “remind us of a connection to our planet that we have over time forgotten.”

The Prince has made climate change the central focus of this visit and is urging countries across Africa and the Middle East to work together to help resolve it.

Earlier this week, Queen Rania of Jordan told ITV News how the region could suffer from a four degree Celsius temperature rise - double the predicted global average. And she explained how Jordan is the second most water-scarce country on the planet.

Charles and Camilla with the Sphinx in the background Credit: Joe Giddens/PA

Prince Charles promised that the UK would “be with Egypt as your friend and partner in this epic struggle to protect and restore our environment, and to build a better future for us all”. Earlier, Charles and Camilla had marveled at one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World on the outskirts of Cairo.

They landed in Cairo from Amman and were welcomed to the country by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. The Prince held talks about climate change with him. Egypt’s presidency of the annual UN climate summit is being closely watched as it is one of the biggest oil producers in Africa and only produces 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources. The Prince of Wales - who has been campaigning on environment issues for the last 50 years - hopes President al-Sisi will step up to the plate for the 2022 COP27 summit, despite criticisms of his human rights record.

Dr Khaled el Anani, minister of tourism and antiquities, with Charles and Camilla Credit: Peter Nicholls/PA

The Great Pyramids were built more than 4,500 years ago are one of the marvels of the world.

2.3 million stone blocks were used to make them and they remained the tallest structures in the world for many centuries. As the sun set on Thursday, the couple posed before the other landmark at this site, the Sphinx, which has mesmerised visitors to Egypt for centuries with its body of a lion and a man’s head. Pharaoh Khufu built the Great Pyramid as his tomb, his son Pharaoh Khafre commissioned the second and during this period the enigmatic Sphinx was carved from limestone. Pharaoh Menkaure created the third and smallest pyramid at Giza.

Ashraf Mohi, director of the pyramid complex, walked the couple around the three pyramids and to the Sphinx.

The Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles met with President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and the First Lady, Entissar Amer. Credit: PA

He told Charles and Camilla: “You are stepping on rocks that go back centuries and centuries – this is an adventure.” Pointing at the pyramids, he explained they were once covered with flat limestone: “If you imagine in another time, it looked so shiny.” Charles has visited the ancient wonders outside Cairo before privately but this was his first official tour, while Camilla visited the site in the 1960s. At one point during the tour they walked carefully a short distance up the side of the 454ft (138.5m) high pyramid built by Pharaoh Khufu and briefly stepped into the tunnel entrance out of view. A source said: “The prince is convinced that human ingenuity can help stop climate change because when you look at the pyramids you realise just what people can do.”