Prince William has called out the billionaires currently competing in a space tourism race instead of focusing their efforts on the environmental problems on Earth.

The Duke of Cambridge directed thinly-veiled criticism at Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Richard Branson during a BBC interview at Kensington Palace.

The three billionaires have been embroiled in a recent race to provide private commercial space travel.

“We need some of the world’s greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live,” William said.

The interview comes after Mr Musk announced his focus on reaching Mars, and after Mr Bezos said that his inaugural space flight was part of building a road to space “so that our kids and their kids can build a future”.

“We need to do that to solve the problems here on Earth,” Mr Bezos said.

The Amazon founder recently celebrated his second suborbital space flight, which included Star Trek actor William Shatner among its passengers.

The British royal family has made a trend of speaking out on environmental issues, with William following in the steps of his father Prince Charles and late grandfather Prince Philip.

Prince Charles has been calling for action to stop climate change for decades, often facing ridicule for his stance.

The 72-year-old heir to the throne recently described the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow as a “last chance saloon” for combating climate change, sharing how he tries so hard to encourage world leaders to attend and take action.

“It’s been a hard road for him. He’s had a really rough ride on that, and I think he’s been proven to being well ahead of the curve,” William said.

“But it shouldn’t be that there’s a third generation now coming along having to ramp it up even more.”

William also warned that not taking action now could be “robbing from our children’s future”.

“For me, it would be an absolute disaster if [my son] George is sat here in 30 years’ time, still saying the same thing, because by then we will be too late.

“Now I’ve got children as well and speaking to other parents, it’s a bit of a cliche, but you do start to see the world differently.

“I want the things that I’ve enjoyed – the outdoor life, the nature, the environment – I want that to be there for my children, and not just my children but everyone else’s children.”

The prince said the key to tackling the issue was to “bring people with us”.

“People have got to feel like there’s hope, there’s a chance we can fix this.”

He also echoed his father’s message, saying the upcoming COP26 conference had to result in action.

“We can’t have more clever speak, clever words but not enough action,” William said.

In response to the issue of climate change, William created the Earthshot Prize, with the aim of using new technologies or policies to solve Earth’s biggest environmental problems.

Image: @KensingtonRoyal / Twitter

This article first appeared on Over60.