Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the United Kingdom now officially has a new king who is a major advocate for regenerative farming. Charles, who was with his mother when she died earlier today, is now known as King Charles III.
In a statement shared by Buckingham Palace, the 73-year-old heir to the throne said, “The death of my beloved mother, Her Majesty The Queen, is a moment of great sadness for me and all members of my family.”
Queen Elizabeth II was the world’s longest-serving monarch. She died at the age of 96 – hours after the royal family first issued a statement stating concerns about her health. Just three days ago, at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, she presided over the ceremonial handover to the country’s new prime minister, Liz Truss.
The monarch’s husband, Prince Philip (99), died in April.
While news of the queen’s death sparked a chorus of global tributes, British farmers said they mourned the passing of one of their greatest supporters.
“By any measure she has been an immense and unparalleled force for good on the world stage,” said Tenant Farmers’ Association chief executive George Dunn in an interview with the UK-based Farmers Guardian.
“Her love of the countryside, farming and rural communities has been of enormous significance and there are many within the farming community who have been gladdened by her interest in and support for the work that they do.”
Farmers Guardian also spoke to National Sheep Association chief executive Phil Stocker who described the queen as “a true country girl at heart.” Stocker said, “She has left a lasting legacy, not least by influencing many of her family members, across new generations, to share her interests and values.”
According to various media reports the queen was a committed patron of the UK’s National Federation of Young Farmers’ Clubs since 1957. Over the years, she met with many members and also presented awards to farmers at The Royal Show.
Farmers Guardian remarked, “The queen showed a keen interest in agriculture, and several of the royal estates and residences hold working farms. She was a true countrywoman, who understood the challenges young farmers face to feed the nation and always championed rural communities.”
Like his late mother, King Charles III also has a long-standing relationship with the agriculture sector. For decades, he has advocated for a transition to regenerative farming, describing soil as an asset that is all too easily “overlooked, degraded, and polluted.”
In August 2022, during his televised address at the 22nd World Congress of Soil Science in Glasgow in Scotland, he said, “Healthy living soil can securely feed growing populations with a nutritious and varied diet, mitigate the effects of climate change, and provide water and flood management.
“Indeed, soil is absolutely critical for delivering the ecosystem services on which we all rely. So, it is high time that such an extraordinary, miraculous living organic system, so disastrously degraded by industrialised agriculture, receives the proper attention it deserves.”
The former prince said a pro-active approach was needed to encourage regenerative agriculture “with a diversity of plants and of grazing livestock, replacing lost organic matter through the use of legumes, cover crops, residues and mulches. The alternative is too grim to contemplate.”
A state funeral for Queen Elizabeth III is expected to be held in 10 days’ time.