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Prince Charles plants oak in the grounds of Windsor Castle to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

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During nearly 70 years on the throne, the Queen has planted a staggering 1,500 new trees across the globe.

So what better way to mark her historic Platinum Jubilee next year with a new initiative, ‘Plant a Tree for the Jubilee’?

The effort to create a nationwide ‘Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC)’ got underway in secret in March – the end of the official planting season – when the monarch and the Prince of Wales, who is patron of the initiative, met at Windsor Castle to plant an inaugural ‘Verdun Oak’ (Quercus petraea).

A new photograph of mother and son at the ceremony has been released by Buckingham Palace, as the scheme launches today.

Images showing Charles planting the oak before posing with his mother in front of the tree were taken on March 23, in the aftermath of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey.

It comes after palace aides called on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to give up their titles following Prince Harry’s latest ‘disgraceful’ assault on the Royal Family in which he criticised Charles’s parenting skills.

Prince Charles, 72, has launched Her Majesty's new green initiative celebrating her Platinum Jubilee - The Queen's Green Canopy - by planting the first tree in the grounds of Windsor Castle

Prince Charles, 72, has launched Her Majesty’s new green initiative celebrating her Platinum Jubilee – The Queen’s Green Canopy – by planting the first tree in the grounds of Windsor Castle

An oak was planted by The Prince of Wales to launch a unique, UK-wide tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty's Platinum Jubilee next year, of which His Royal Highness is Patron

An oak was planted by The Prince of Wales to launch a unique, UK-wide tree planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee next year, of which His Royal Highness is Patron

Everyone from individuals to Scout and Girlguiding groups, villages, cities, counties, schools and companies, will be encouraged to plant trees from October 2021, when the tree planting season begins, through to the end of the Jubilee year in 2022.

The countdown to planting season begins now, giving people time to plan their projects.

From October, details of contributions can be uploaded onto an interactive map on the new QGC website, so people can see the canopy’s development.

The Woodland Trust, the largest woodland conservation charity in the United Kingdom, has committed three million free saplings to schools and communities across the UK as part of the QGC initiative.

Trees can be planted either singularly or in copses by individuals, schools, community groups or businesses on private land, or even as a new Platinum Jubilee Avenue of medium-sized or large trees – ideal for cities, large estates, housing developments and parishes.

The project is not-for-profit and is being funded by private donors and supporters including Royal Mail, Coutts, The John Lewis Partnership, Coupa and Rentokil Initial plc.

The initiative invites green-fingered Britons to plant 'healthy native trees' next year from October to March and pin your tree on a special QGC map

The initiative invites green-fingered Britons to plant ‘healthy native trees’ next year from October to March and pin your tree on a special QGC map

While the QGC has not received government funding, it is also being supported by DEFRA.

Expressing his ‘delight’ at the scheme, Prince Charles described forests as among the ‘richest biological areas on Earth’.

The first ‘Queen’s Green Canopy’ tree is a ‘Verdun oak’ planted at Windsor

It was propagated by the royal estate’s Saville Garden team at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in 2019.

Verdun trees are oak and horse chestnut trees planted across the UK in the aftermath of the First World War.

Acorns and chestnuts were collected from trees on the battlefield at Verdun and sent to England to be distribute and planted as war memorial.

Queen Mary planted a Verdun Oak on the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk on January 28 1920.

Two Verdun oaks were also planted at Kew on July 19 1919, of which one remains.

‘They offer a magnificent variety of habitats for plants, animals and micro-organisms. They release oxygen, generate rainfall, aid natural flood management, filter pollution from the air, regulate temperatures in urban areas, prevent soil erosion, mitigate the effects of climate change and enhance our wellbeing… Quite simply, we cannot live without them,’ he said.

The prince stressed that it was ‘absolutely vital’ for more of the right special of trees to be planted, and in the right places in order to establish more woodlands, avenues, hedgerows and hedgerow trees and urban planting scheme.

‘Whether you are an individual hoping to plant a single sapling in your garden, a school or community group planting a tree, a Council, charity or business intending to plant a whole avenue of trees or a farmer looking to create new hedgerows, everyone across the country can get involved,’ he said.

Charles also explained his hope that the jubilee initiative would offer a chance to also protect what woodland we have.

He added: ‘As Patron of The Queen’s Green Canopy, I am delighted to launch this unique tree-planting initiative created to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee in 2022.

‘Throughout Her reign, The Queen has officially planted more than 1,500 trees all over the world. In March, during the most recent planting season, I was delighted to have an opportunity to plant a tree with Her Majesty in the grounds of Windsor Castle to launch this very special initiative. There is a reason for this profoundly symbolic act. Planting a tree is a statement of hope and faith in the future. As we approach this most special year, I invite you all to join me to ‘Plant a tree for the Jubilee’ – in other words, a ‘Tree-bilee!’ ‘

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has welcomed the initiative as way to plant sustainably, while create a national legacy in honour of The Queen’s leadership over 70 years.

He said: ‘Our trees stand at the frontline of our fight against climate change and by sustaining our beautiful countryside for generations to come, The Queen’s Green Canopy is a fitting tribute to Her Majesty’s years of service to this country. I urge everyone to get involved and ‘plant a tree for the Jubilee.’ As well as inviting the planting of new trees, The Queen’s Green Canopy will highlight and showcase 70 irreplaceable Ancient Woodlands across the United Kingdom and identify 70 Ancient Trees to celebrate Her Majesty’s 70 years of service.

Her Majesty's initiative launches as senior courtiers told The Mail on Sunday of a growing sense of 'bewilderment and betrayal' after Harry's expletive-filled 90-minute interview last week with actor and podcaster Dax Shepard

Her Majesty’s initiative launches as senior courtiers told The Mail on Sunday of a growing sense of ‘bewilderment and betrayal’ after Harry’s expletive-filled 90-minute interview last week with actor and podcaster Dax Shepard

It will also create a pilot training programme for unemployed young people aged between 16-24 through Capel Manor College, London’s only specialist environmental college, of which The Queen Mother was Patron, to plant and manage trees.

Chair of Natural England and Cool Earth Trustee, Tony Juniper CBE said: ‘Expanding woodland and tree cover, with the right trees in the right place, is key to the recovery of the world’s natural environment, including here in Britain.

‘There is no more fitting way to celebrate Her Majesty’s Jubilee than through striving to increase and protect our native tree cover.

‘The last year has emphasised the central role that trees and woods play in the life of the nation.’

Her Majesty’s initiative launches as senior courtiers told The Mail on Sunday of a growing sense of ‘bewilderment and betrayal’ after Harry’s expletive-filled 90-minute interview last week with actor and podcaster Dax Shepard.

Harry has said he and Meghan, 39, moved to their $14million California mansion to escape the cycle of 'genetic pain' inflicted upon him

Harry has said he and Meghan, 39, moved to their $14million California mansion to escape the cycle of ‘genetic pain’ inflicted upon him

Harry, 36, says he and Meghan, 39, moved to their $14million California mansion to escape the cycle of ‘genetic pain’ inflicted upon him.

Speaking of his father, he said: ‘He’s treated me the way that he was treated. There’s a lot of genetic pain and suffering that gets passed on anyway. Isn’t life about breaking the cycle? There’s no blame.

‘But certainly when it comes to parenting, if I have experienced some kind of pain or suffering because of the pain or suffering that, perhaps, my father or my parents had suffered, I’m going to make sure I break that cycle so I don’t pass it on.’

Referring to his father’s ‘unhappy’ time at Gordonstoun school in Scotland – which Charles described as ‘Colditz in kilts’ – Harry added: ‘Suddenly I started to piece it all together and go, OK, so this is where he went to school.

‘This is what happened. I know this bit about his life. I also know that’s connected to his parents. So that means that he’s treated me the way that he was treated, which means how can I change that for my own kids?’

The Queen, Prince Philip and Prince Charles attending the wedding of Princess Eugenie at St. George's Chapel in Windsor in 2018

The Queen, Prince Philip and Prince Charles attending the wedding of Princess Eugenie at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor in 2018

Prince Charles walks behind the Duke of Edinburgh's coffin during his funeral last month

Prince Charles walks behind the Duke of Edinburgh’s coffin during his funeral last month

No formal moves are planned to strip the couple of their titles – but aids are particularly incensed over Harry’s ‘shocking’ criticism of Charles as a parent and, by implication, the parenting abilities of the Queen and the late Prince Philip.

‘People are appalled that he could do this to the Queen when the Duke of Edinburgh is barely in his grave,’ said one aide. ‘To drag his grandfather into this is so shocking and disrespectful.

‘The Duke of Sussex has now spent a significant amount of time emphasising that he’s no different to anyone else and attacking the institution which he says has caused him so much pain. There is a growing feeling that if you dislike the institution that much, you shouldn’t have the titles.’

Vow to treble new saplings

The number of trees planted each year in England will treble to more than 20million by 2024 in a bid to combat climate change.

An average of nine square miles are currently planted each year, but the England Trees Action Plan will see this increase to 27 square miles.

The plan will be launched tomorrow by Environment Secretary George Eustice at Delamere Forest in Cheshire.

However, it still falls short of the UK-wide target of 116 square miles per year by 2024. The target formed part of the Conservative manifesto, which said such an increase would see nearly 3,000 square miles of trees planted by 2045.

Danny Gross, trees campaigner for Friends of the Earth, attacked the new action plan, saying it ‘fails to rise to the challenge of the climate and nature crisis’.

He said: ‘It means England would grow less than a quarter of the woodland needed to hit the Government’s existing unambitious short-term target for the UK, leaving Scotland and Wales to do all the heavy lifting. The Government needs to up its game.’

Laying bare the toxicity that now exists between the Sussexes and the wider Royal Family, another source said: ‘They should put the titles into abeyance, so they still exist, but are not used, like they agreed to do with their HRHs.

‘They should just become Harry and Meghan. And if they refuse to do that, they have to explain why not.’

The pressure for them to be relinquished demonstrates how deep the sense of betrayal has become in the Palace.

His latest outburst means tensions are expected to be high when Harry returns to Britain for the unveiling of a new statue of his mother, Princess Diana, on July 1.

Harry has left senior Royals baffled by his ‘woeful lack of compassion’ in the expletive-filled 90-minute interview last week with actor and podcaster Dax Shepard.

In particular, there is fury that he spoke out just a month after his grandfather’s funeral.

His comments have torpedoed hopes that his reunion with Charles and Prince William at the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral last month could bring a reconciliation after the Oprah Winfrey interview in which he and Meghan accused the Royal Family of institutional racism and refusing to help the Duchess when she was suicidal.

Harry also used the interview with the US chat show host in March to describe how he felt ‘really let down’ by his father who, he claimed, had refused to take his calls after Megxit.

But a close friend of Charles last night said: ‘If you follow Harry’s logic and treat the Royals just as ordinary people, then the Prince is a single parent who’s been doing his best for years.

Can you imagine how it feels to have that effort judged so harshly, so publicly?

‘Harry talks about compassion. But where is the compassion for his father? Where is your compassion for your own family who have just buried a much-loved member?

And where is your compassion for your grandmother who has just lost the man she’s loved all her life?’