Flora, fauna and feathered creatures around the world, take note: Prince William is your latest royal champion.
William is taking up his family’s traditional role as keen supporters of conservation and environmental causes, accepting important patronages from his nonagenarian grandparents, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, and his father, Prince Charles.
Kensington Palace announced Monday that the Duke of Cambridge has been given the patronages of two wildlife conservation charities, passed on to him by the queen, 94, and by the Duke of Edinburgh, 99.
Fauna & Flora International and the British Trust for Ornithology align with William’s “longstanding work around conservation and support for communities protecting their natural environment for future generations,” the palace said.
Will, 38, along with his brother Prince Harry, 36, have been leaders in the movement to protect wildlife from illegal trading, through the young royals’ United for Wildlife, a partnership between seven conservation organizations, and support for such groups as the Tusk Trust, which tries to protect African elephants, rhinos and other tusked creatures.
Prince Philip, who retired from public life in 2017, soon began passing on some of his hundreds of patronages to younger members of the family.
The queen is still on the job but she, too, has cut down on the number of charities and patronages she supports while passing them on to her descendants.
Both of the senior royals have been isolating in the royal “bubble” set up to protect them at Windsor Castle and other family homes since March, when the U.K. went into lockdown in the spring due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Prince Charles, 71, a COVID-19 survivor and possibly the U.K.’s most famous environmentalist and climate change activist, also has gradually turned over some of his leadership roles in charities to his son in preparation for when he becomes King Charles III.
William has taken up organizations that fit with his own patronage interests over the last 15 years as he graduated from college, married the former Kate Middleton in 2011, fathered three children, and became a full-time senior working royal.
He recently took part in an ITV documentary, “Prince William: A Planet For Us All,” which followed him for two years on a mission to mobilize action for protecting the natural world.
And he recently hosted acclaimed nature filmmaker David Attenborough for an outdoor screening in the Kensington Palace garden of Attenborough’s latest feature film, “David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet.”
Fauna & Flora International, established in 1903 and operating in more than 40 countries worldwide, is the world’s oldest international wildlife conservation organization, the palace said. The queen has been its royal patron for almost seven decades.
FFI focuses on biodiversity, protecting threatened species and ecosystems worldwide through solutions that are sustainable, based on science and also enhance human well-being.
The organization also is a founding member of the young royals’ United for Wildlife, and was recently announced as a global partner in the new Earthshot Prize, an environmental award that Will and Attenborough launched last week to “incentivize change and help to repair our planet over the next 10 years.”
The British Trust for Ornithology aims to help local communities protect local bird species and their natural habitats, while also promoting the benefits of the natural world on human health and wellbeing. Prince Philip, a lifelong ornithology enthusiast, has been patron of BTO for more than 30 years. The palace said the prince’s interest in birds was first sparked in 1956 while travelling in the Royal Yacht Britannia between New Zealand and Antarctica, where he delighted in identifying and photographing seabirds native to the region.
Leaders of the two organizations were effusive in praising Will and his grandparents. Mark Rose, chief executive officer of FFI, expressed gratitude to the queen for her decades of support.
“We look forward to building on her legacy and taking the relationship forward with her grandson,” Rose said in a prepared statement. “The Duke of Cambridge is a wonderful ambassador for conservation and there is a great deal of synergy between his own and FFI’s vision for the future of the planet.”
Andy Clements, BTO’s chief executive, said he was pleased to welcome the duke, “following on from his grandfather who worked so tirelessly on our behalf. We hope that we will be able to support the duke’s strong interest in protecting the environment through our evidence-based work around environmental issues in the UK.”