He might be one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, thanks to roles in the likes of Titanic, Wolf of Wall Street and The Great Gatsby, but Leonardo DiCaprio has found himself on the receiving end of a royal rebuke due to a comment he made about Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
The Monegasque monarch, who is currently touring the reef on a royal visit, slammed DiCaprio’s comments, crediting them with having a negative impact on tourism and urging people to back their claims up with hard facts in future.
“You’ve got to be very careful about making those sorts of statements,’’ Prince Albert told The Sunday Mail. “Particularly if it is not scientifically or factually backed. And I’m sorry he (DiCaprio) said that, because it has had a negative impact.”
The 43-year-old actor made the comments at an environmental conference in 2014 after visiting the Reef and diving near Yeppoon, saying he had “witnessed environmental devastation first-hand”.
“What once had looked like an endless underwater utopia is now riddled with bleached coral reefs and massive dead zones,” he said.
Prince Albert, who is married to Princess Charlene of Monaco, is known for his passion for the environment, and heads the Prince Albert 2 Foundation which was established to “address our planet’s alarming environmental situation”.
However, despite disagreeing with DiCaprio’s comments, the pair have actually joined forces in their fight to preserve the world’s oceans and marine life, as their foundations banded together to host the 2018 Monaco Boat Show, which raised $28 million for ocean research.
“I’m sure large portions of the Reef are under pressure or dying or disappearing,” Prince Albert added. “I’m sure there are some parts that are still thriving. We’ve got to make sure coral reefs can be as resilient as possible to withstand the pressures they are under.”
The royal’s visit comes as Monaco plays host to the International Coral Reef Initiative for the next two years, working alongside Australia and Indonesia.
On Saturday Albert went snorkelling off the coast of Badu Island in the Torres Strait, ahead of a visit to Townsville on Sunday where he is due to meet with top coral experts at the Australian Institute for Marine Science.
“I hope to get a better understanding of what is actually happening,” Prince Albert added. “With that understanding I hope to mobilise more people to care about coral reefs.”