Prince William takes over two animal patronages from his grandparents

Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge delivers a speech at the Tusk Conservation Awards in London

It’s an old saying that British people prefer animals to people. Perhaps that is doubly true of British royals. The Windsors will do the most to represent any animal charity or animal-related organization, all while ignoring a lot of important causes related to the human condition. I also think that the “apolitical” royals think that “animal stuff” will always be a less political cause. Speaking of! Prince William continues to “prepare to be king” by talking about how he’s keen to be an environmentalist and a conservationist. While William rarely takes on any patronage previously held by another royal, he’s making an exception here: he’s the new patron of Fauna & Flora International AND the British Trust for Ornithology. He’s taking over those patronages from the Queen and Prince Philip respectively.

Prince William has been granted two new patronages from his royal grandparents. William, 38, is now the patron of two wildlife conservation organizations that were handed down by his grandmother Queen Elizabeth and grandfather Prince Philip — adding to his ongoing campaign to aid and protect the natural world. The royal has been given the Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), aligning with his “longstanding work around conservation and support for communities protecting their natural environment for future generations,” his office at Kensington Palace says.

To mark the event, Philip’s office at Buckingham Palace released two rarely-seen images of the royal on a trip from 1956 to 1957 that inspired his own commitment to preserving wildlife and habitats. Philip’s journey took him to the southern Pacific Ocean, between New Zealand and the Antarctic, and is said by the palace to be when his “fascination with ornithology was born.” He was the first member of the Royal Family to cross the Antarctic Circle. This trip, and a second ocean voyage across the Central Pacific in 1959, inspired his book, Birds from Britannia, which was published 1962, and from which the newly-released photos were taken.

His “interest in ornithology has continued throughout his career, with His Royal Highness taking the opportunity to study birds in the wild while on visits around the world, including Africa, Iceland, South America, Canada, and the Galapagos Islands,” the palace adds.

The Queen had been patron of FFI for almost 70 years. The organization focuses on protecting biodiversity, which underpins healthy ecosystems and is critical for the life-support systems that humans and all other species rely on. It also works to protect threatened species and ecosystems around the world, helping find solutions that are sustainable, based on sound science and that enhance human well-being – and it is also a founding member of Prince William’s United for Wildlife.

[From People]

This is just another reminder (to me) that William and Kate really haven’t done much of anything in the past decade. There was some idea – a theory, promoted by royal reporters – that William and Kate would add patronages to their portfolio every year until they both built up portfolios reflecting of their Future King and Future Queen status. What ended up happening is that W&K barely did any work with their dozen patronages (some of which even closed down) and they instead threw their weak support behind various newly-minted busy-work causes, like the Five Big Questions survey, or Heads Together, or William’s Earthshot Prize. The purpose is not to support a worthy charity, it’s to look busy and important. It’s crazy that Philip and Liz haven’t handed these patronages to William before now. It’s crazy that Philip – who is almost 100 damn years old – still has more patronages than William currently. Also: I mean, yeah, William is a hunter. So is the Queen, Philip, Charles, Camilla, Kate, all of them. They all have animal patronages too.

Here are those photos of Philip chatting up some friendly birds. “Do you come here often? Who is your father?”

Photos courtesy of WENN, Avalon Red.

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50 Responses to “Prince William takes over two animal patronages from his grandparents”

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  1. Chica1971 says:

    I think being the patron of hundreds of organizations is not effective. Doesn’t these folks hunt animals that don’t need culling for environmental purposes?

    • Kalana says:

      They don’t care about the people or the issues. The point is to have a lot of titles that they can list to embiggen themselves. Look at their charity work. It’s just a bunch of empty initiatives that mostly don’t go anywhere but have pompous titles.

      All the Camstans were cooing over William preparing to be king (not Prince of Wales) by taking on these two titles because maybe they could add more legitimacy to his environmentalist role. They didn’t think at all about what exactly is William supposed to be doing to help his patronages.

  2. Harla says:

    Tons of backlash on Twitter about this, especially surrounding the BTO and William’s love of bird shooting.

    • Becks1 says:

      Yes, and I’m here for it! So man pictures of William grouse-hunting and people threatening to cancel their membership. Also some good tweets asking about the point of a royal patron in this day and age.

      I think the latter point is going to be asked more and more, especially if William continues to add patronages and do nothing with them.

      • Nic919 says:

        The photos of him grouse shooting in the KP thread are killing me. Obviously he’s a massive hypocrite on conservation because grouse shooting is unjustifiable.

        Many are making the point that someone with experience in conservation and bird watching should have been appointed. But the royals don’t ever get anything in merit.

      • equality says:

        Did the Queen and Phil do much with them? I didn’t notice much that the royals did before starting to observe how Meghan and Harry were treated but I don’t recall ever seeing anything in the royal social media or media feed about either of these organizations. I agree with Chica above. They have all these things they supposedly represent and they couldn’t really do justice to any of them. If I were any of the organizations I would be looking for a celebrity patron with an actual interest in my cause.

      • Becks1 says:

        @Equality – I don’t think the Queen and Phillip do much with all their patronages, but they have SO MANY that it makes more sense (the lack of engagement.) William has less than 20, I think? Maybe just around 20? So the lack of engagement is less excusable.

        I think your last sentence is why there is pushback against the idea of a royal patron. Or if you’re going to name one at this point, name one known for their interest in birds, and not just for hunting. Having a royal patron just for the sake of having a royal patron is losing its shine for many I think.

    • Ines says:

      The Queen wasn’t much better herself. There’s a famous photo of her wringing a pheasant’s neck to put it out of its misery during a shooting party.

    • kelleybelle says:

      As well there should be. Just like the flaming hypocrisy of advocating mental health when he literally tried to destroy Meghan and his brother’s marriage. Frankly he’s a tone-deaf, clueless, profoundly hypocritical asshole.

  3. Charlie says:

    See. This is good. Now Will and George will have something to talk about when they go hunting!

    • Amy Bee says:

      Will they? Phillip is touted as a great hunter of birds and animals and he was patron of the BTO and a founder of the WWF. Their aim is for the aristocracy to still have birds and animals to hunt but not the plebs.

  4. L84Tea says:

    Philip is almost 100 years old and RETIRED, and he still has more patronages than William. That is so sad and pathetic.

    • Elizabeth Regina says:

      Isn’t it just? For me the number of patronages don’t matter as much as the quality of the work. Apart from keening nothing much has come out of these two. Even the Hold Still project is about other people’s photos. Could have used the platform to do something tangible. Displaying photos all over the country is temporary. What is the legacy?

    • Kalana says:

      Why does Philip even have patronages? He retired four years ago.

      So basically the patronages have been left with no royal support and either that’s okay or hasn’t even made a difference? What is the point of spending all this money on the royals again?

  5. OriginalLala says:

    The royals don’t really care about animals or else they wouldn’t be into trophy hunting and shoots where they kill thousand of birds in an afternoon for funsies.

    They care about breeding show animals and about “conservation” in the same way Teddy Roosevelt was into conservation but still killed hundreds of elephants for fun whenever he could. Their views on animals and conservation haven’t changed since the Edwardian era.

    • VIV says:

      This is what I find mind boggling about their shooting events. They kill SO MANY birds. There are other options available for shooting these days. As patrons of these organizations they know their impact, they just don’t care.

      • Nic919 says:

        Skeet shooting would require actual skill and they prefer the wall of birds because it makes them look like they know what they are doing. It’s a destructive habit, as much as fox hunting was.

  6. Sofia says:

    Wasn’t the idea of the Cambridges taking LESS patronages and focusing on 3-4 charities/project a year being floated around? Wasn’t the idea behind that being that the charities would get more focus and it would be a lot better than having countless patronages? In theory that’s a good idea but the Cambridges have currently shown they can’t do one decent “big project” in the space of 10 years let alone 3-4 a year, every year. William’s JUST launched Earthshot and Kate’s Broken Britain/Great Survey seems to be on the backburner for now – and they’ve been married for 9.5 years now.

    As I’ve said many times before, it’s best to have the Cambridges do a loooooooot of “bread and butter” engagements instead of the “big projects”. I think that’s more in their wheelhouse – minimal commitment, done in 45 mins, not a lot of research needed, easy to do, helps beef up numbers etc

    • Wiglet Watcher says:

      Kate’s survey ended up being 5 questions to better help her team find the best issues to create busy work around. And it never had specifics to just pool info from Britain. It was taking input from anyone that knew who Kate was.

      • Sofia says:

        I think the whole point of the survey was just a PR thing – make everyone think Kate has been doing something but also make people in the UK think that their opinion about early years is important enough for Kate to listen to and use. I doubt the data will actually be /used/ for anything other than maybe “as gathered from out survey in January, 78% of Britons agree that Early Years is important” or something.

      • Wiglet Watcher says:

        Kate’s staffer that organized the whole struggle survey also quit and it got shelved after that. So, any data that was compiled might not even be used. There’s never any follow through to benefit anyone beyond embiggening Kate.

      • Sofia says:

        @WW: Yeah I doubt the data will be used meaningfully, hence why I said “maybe”. It was just a PR thing, like I said above for Kate’s benefit.

    • Becks1 says:

      Yeah, the idea was floated that they would have fewer patronages but would focus more on certain causes, which I always found laughable because Charles has hundreds of patronages (I’m just guessing lol) and STILL focuses on certain causes, like organic farming, the Prince’s Trust, etc. It’s not either-or.

      Completely agree re: the bread and butter events, but the problem is you have to do a lot of them. Now, they definitely could, they could do 3 events a day 4 days a week while the kids are in school, and if they did that even 30 weeks out of the year (i.e. plenty of time for vacations) Kates numbers would be doubled. But they don’t want to do even that so they trot out these ideas of “big projects” but they fall flat or other people do the work – but its clearly a way to make the Cambridges seem more active and impactful than they actually are.

      • Sofia says:

        +1. Even if Kate worked 4 days a week and did 2 engagements 3 days and 1 engagement on another day, in 30 weeks, she could do 210 engagements. Add in foundation meetings and tour engagements (tours aren’t happening anytime soon but when/if they happen again), that can be beefed up to 250, which gives her higher numbers than Camilla. 3 events a day for 4 days a week would mean 12 engagements a week and for 30 weeks, that adds up to 360 engagements. Again, foundation meetings and tour engagements and she could go up to 400 which will probably put her in top 3/4/5 in terms of engagement numbers. But this is a woman who apparently found 20 engagements or something a month “gruelling” (according to Tatler) so 12 a week would freak her out.

        The Cambridges like “big projects” because it gives them the “glory” because the “bread and butter” engagements are “too boring” for them and like you say, can do the least amount of work while getting all the press praise.

      • Nic919 says:

        Sophie has always done around high 300 or low 400 in numbers while having young kids so Kate should be copying her schedule. No one accuses sophie of neglecting her children with those numbers.

        But Kate never will work that much because Billy doesn’t even get to 300 and both are simply lazy.

    • Amy Bee says:

      Yeah that was the aim but that was only put out to deflect from criticism that they were work shy. I also think it was a means of preventing Harry from taking on more patronages so they won’t be outshined by him.

  7. Digital Unicorn says:

    He should have done this a long time ago – taking things on from them and his father. Glad he is getting dragged for it.

    Also, not sure if this will be covered in a separate article but the Fail has a rehashed hatchet piece about how Diana wanted William to bypass Chuck – seems the Cambridges are pushing that narrative again to get positive press via their hacks at the Fail.

    • Wiglet Watcher says:

      I’m here for this. The heir vs. heir war. KP vs. CH. William behaves like he’s untouchable because he’s a heir, but Charles will push back.

      Charles has a detailed plan that includes Harry when he ascends. William and Kate blew that all to hell. And they’re still not acting like they will ever work more.

      • Donna says:

        I think, just maybe, Charles does have a plan for Harry/Meghan, when he ascends to the throne (if it’s still around). He just hasn’t told Will (& by virture KP) that’s all. I think there are people waiting in the background for QE to leave & Charles to take over so he can “scrub” this present day monarchy.

    • Snuffles says:

      Diana didn’t know what kind of person William would grow up to be. And I seem to remember Diana always thought that Harry was more suited than William. She nicknamed him “Good King Harry”.

      • Tessa says:

        William did and does have a mean streak. I remember when he went to a Duchy Farm with his father he chortled at one of the reporters getting a shock from the electric fence.

    • Tessa says:

      If Diana were around today and saw what William is like, no way would she want him to be next. She would have been horrified at the way he treats his brother and sister in law. She would also ask Charles about working together to rein in William. Where is Charles in all of this?

  8. Amy Bee says:

    If the Royal Family still thinks that animal causes are apolitical, they’re woefully out of touch.

    • equality says:

      There are some things that they won’t touch because they are too political. William preached (yes preached) about endangered animals in Africa in his documentary but he won’t touch the management of grouse estates in the UK.

      • A says:

        @equality, William preaches African nations on how their people have too many children, and how they don’t do enough on conservation, while rubbing shoulders with the Tories who want to do away with environmental regulations in the UK.

  9. Dee says:

    Because Normal Bill is going to work tirelessly to protect animals? Animals everywhere: “We’re doomed.”

  10. Snuffles says:

    Interesting since Harry recently mentioned that Archie loved birds and now William is the head of a bird organization. 🤔

    • equality says:

      Meghan mentioned in the teen podcast that Harry and Archie both like birds. And then this soon after. Makes it look like more “punish Harry” nonsense.

  11. Ines says:

    “The British prefer animals to people”. Here in the UK they like to call themselves “a nation of dog lovers”, however having lived in Austria for five years before moving here, I was shocked by the fact that you can’t take dogs anywhere. In Vienna dogs were allowed everywhere except the supermarket and the theaters. Here you can’t take them to shops, restaurants (except some pubs), etc.

  12. Lucylee says:

    Bird killers are made
    Patrons of an organization that protects birds?
    Make it make sense.

  13. Chaine says:

    Making him the head of an ornithology organization when we all know his holiday outing is to slaughter harmless birds for fun!

  14. Likeyoucare says:

    Yes all these patrons but what will he do.
    Its like when you are going for interview and trying to explain what you did as the captain of debate college team, as willie didnt take part in any competition, handle any meeting or come to any activities.

    And when the interviewer ask him how did you get to be ellected as a captain.
    My granny give it to me because i am his favourite grandchild.

    • Kalana says:

      And he’s proud of it! William is so smug about running to his granny for everything. He must be completely insufferable to deal with.

  15. Keekey says:

    I remember an anecdote where Princess Diana said she wouldn’t do any “horse charities” until all the “people charities” had been covered.

  16. Tessa says:

    William must be manipulating the Queen and Philip in some way. Or maybe just the Queen since Philip is quite old and frail now.