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Prince William's star-studded global Earthshot Prize Council revealed - including Queen Rania

The Duke of Cambridge has launched his biggest project to date

Emily Nash

The Duke of Cambridge has assembled an all-star team to sit on the global prize council of the Earthshot Prize.

Prince William and Sir David Attenborough will be joined as judges by Queen Rania of Jordan, Colombian singer and philanthropist Shakira and Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett.

In a video call, Australian star Cate told the Duke: "What is so brilliant, I think, about the Earthshot Prize, is that it aims to reframe that narrative, to one of opportunity and positive action, because of course there are solutions, they're already out there, we just have to harness them and reward them."

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WATCH: Prince William unveils star-studded Earthshot Prize Council including Shakira!

Colombian superstar Shakira told Prince William: "Your children, my children – they have to find ways to reduce carbon emissions, to repair our oceans, to clean the air. So we need young minds to be informed and invested, which is why education is so important.

"But we can't just stand still. We have to lead the way and we have to do it now. I know it's ambitious and I know there will be so many challenges along the way but I also know there will be so many who will rise to the occasion."

And Queen Rania told William: "While the situation is urgent, it is not hopeless. When our backs are against the wall, humanity has a knack for coming together to find innovative solutions. We push back and power through. I am hopeful that platforms such as the Earthshot Prize will help us do just that."

Among the members of the global prize council are figures from across the world of sport, business, entertainment, the environment and philanthropy, all passionate and committed to helping repair the natural world.

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The Earthshot Prize Council

They include Jack Ma, the second richest man in China, founder of the online retail giant Alibaba and a prominent environmentalist and Brazilian football captain Dani Alves, who has campaigned to protect the Amazon rainforest.

Chinese former basketball star Yao Ming, who has previously worked with the Duke through WildAid is on board, as is Naoko Yamasaki, the second Japanese woman in space who now works to combat climate change.

Former UN climate chief Cristiana Figueres, from Costa Rica, Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, an environmental activist from Chad and Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala an economist and international development expert from Nigeria; and former chairman and CEO of PepsiCo Indra Nooyi make up the panel, which is supported by scientific advisors.

MORE: Prince William reveals Prince George's sadness after watching Sir David Attenborough's new documentary

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William joined Sir David Attenborough on BBC Radio 4's Today programme

Speaking to Dr Ngozi about the project, he joked: "I am the very boring coach in the corner at the moment, looking for some very skillful players to help me beat the opposition and I think we have got a really wonderful team put together on the council."

A source close to the project told HELLO!: "The Duke was very clear that this was only going to get the green light if the project was going to be truly global. It was going to have a team to take it to every corner of the world."

HELLO! understands that William personally contacted members of the prize council to sign them up and has spent a great deal of time over the past nine months working on the project.

In a further sign of the competition's international outlook, all materials will be translated into seven different languages: French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese and Japanese.

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