Pierre Casiraghi is sailing with Climate Activist Greta Thunberg

Teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg has made worldwide headlines for her carbon-neutral journey to the UN Climate Action Summit in New York. Her willingness to spend two weeks aboard a boat, eating astronaut-style food sachets and living without a real toilet, is undeniably impressive. But the person who’s made it possible is perhaps even more surprising: Monegasque royal Pierre Casiraghi, Grace Kelly’s grandson.

Pierre Casiraghi and Boris Herrmann racing earlier this summer.
Pierre Casiraghi and Boris Herrmann racing earlier this summer.

Casiraghi is a sailboat racer and owner of the Malizia II, a boat recently outfitted to be carbon-neutral. “We are probably one of the few boats in the world that is totally zero fossil fuel.” the royal said in an interview with the Times.

As he tells it, Casiraghi heard that Thunberg was looking for a sustainable way to cross the ocean for the summit, and he reached out. “They had a lot of questions and they had been exploring different kinds of boats to get across.” he said. “We explained this is a racing boat, that there is little comfort on the boat, but she seems fine with that.”

Casiraghi and his sailing partner Boris Herrmann are handling the actual sailing, sharing one bunk; while Thunberg, her father, and a cameraman occupy the other three.

Grace Kelly's Grandson, Pierre Casiraghi
Grace Kelly’s Grandson, Pierre Casiraghi

So what do his fellow Grimaldis think of his latest endeavor? Casiraghi points out that this kind of thing runs in his blood. “My ancestor was the first admiral of the French king against the English in the Hundred Years’ War.” His grandfather, Prince Rainier II, was also good buddies with Jacques Cousteau.

Plus, there’s danger everywhere. “You can trip on the boat and break your arm, but you can do that at home,” he shrugs.