Prince George is like a "caged animal" if he doesn't spend time outdoors, his father the Duke of Cambridge has revealed. Prince William opens up about the connection to nature he shares with George, seven, Princess Charlotte, five and two-year-old Prince Louis in a new ITV documentary.
Filmed at Wolferton Marshes, a favourite spot of his at Sandringham, he says: "Seeing my children, seeing the passion in their eyes and the love for being outdoors… They find a bug or they love watching how bees are forming the honey.
"George particularly, if he's not outdoors he's quite like a caged animal. He needs to get outside."
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The Duke also reflected on his family’s longstanding commitment to protecting the planet, saying: "My grandfather, my father have been in the conservation, the environmental work for many years.
"My grandfather's well ahead of his time. My father, ahead of his time. And I really want to make sure that, in 20 years, George doesn’t turn round and say 'are you ahead of your time?' Because if he does, we’re too late."
The second-in-line to the throne added: "I thought about that the other day and I, I just thought, you know three generations of the same family saying the same thing. When will we see the action that everyone so desperately needs and wants?”
Oxford Films has followed William at work in the UK and overseas since 2018 for the programme Prince William: A Planet For Us All. On a visit to Liverpool, he laughs as schoolchildren show him a bug hotel they had named “Bugingham Palace” and quiz him about his family.
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William opens up about life with George, Charlotte and Louis
"Is Princess Charlotte cheekier than Prince George?" asks a girl called Daisy.
"No they're about as cheeky as each other," the Duke replies. "They’re very cheeky."
Another girl, Poppy, asks: "Has Prince George learnt (sic) you the floss?"
"No, Charlotte can floss," says William. "She can already floss at four. Yeah, you don't want to see me floss. Catherine can floss but I can't. It's, it's like a really horrible film to watch me floss."
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He says of the younger generation's concern about the natural world: "It's important that their energy inspires the rest of us in positions that can do something, to do something. I certainly don't want them to worry and have to, to fix it all. But we should be harnessing their energy and their passion for fixing this and helping them do that."
In footage from his visit to Tanzania in 2018, the Duke is introduced to three-year-old Pacha, telling her: "You look like trouble, you're just like my little Charlotte."
Later on his trip the Duke credits fatherhood with adding urgency to his conservation work.
"I think you realise a lot more when you become a father," he says. "I was quite a happy-go-lucky young guy, enjoyed parties and then all of a sudden you go 'Well hang on a second, there's a little person here. I'm responsible for that person'. Now I've got George, Charlotte and now Louis, in my life. Your outlook does change.
"And that's why I had to do something, I had to get involved because I really felt that by the time my children were 20, you know 25, at the rate the poaching was at, there may not have been another rhino in the world. And there probably wouldn’t have been many elephants left at all. It really was that urgent and that critical."
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The Duchess during a beach clean-up in Anglesey
On Newborough Beach in Anglesey, where William and Kate are seen joining a clean up, they recall picking up litter from local beaches when they lived on the island as newlyweds.
"A couple of bays round the corner where we were, over there, was really bad," says the Duke. "Huge great tubs of fishing kit. Polystyrene boxes, all that sort of stuff, washing up."
"When we used to clear it, it's amazing how quickly it came back," says the Duchess.
As they sift through rubbish and find scraps of a balloon, William sighs: "I give my children such a talking to about balloons."
William and Kate visited the Hindu Kush mountain range in Pakistan
In a lighter moment Kate points out some mussels, joking to the children: "These are William's favourite."
"What's that? Mussels, no, no, no," replies her husband. "Mussels and I don’t see eye to eye together."
The royal couple are also seen visiting a melting glacier in the Hindu Kush mountain range in Pakistan, where Kate says: "Everyone's asking all of us to protect the environment and what comes first is actually just to care about it in the first place. And you're not necessarily going to care about it if you don’t know about it and that’s why we thought it was so important to come here."
"And we'd love to come and show our children, environments like this. You can impress George [laughs] with your geography knowledge," she teases William.
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George, Charlotte and Louis were startstruck by Sir David Attenborough
The royal children are never far from their parents' minds and as the Duke and Duchess meet Sir David Attenborough in Birkenhead, they tell him how George, Charlotte and Louis are "massive fans”.
"They watch all your programmes David, honestly," William tells him. "I've got them quite onto the African ones because I'm quite fond of Africa. But they love all the programmes."
The programme concludes with William calling for the world to find solutions to Green issues, comparing the world's approach to saving the natural world to the vast sums being spent in the fight against COVID-19.
"If we can provide the same motivation with the environment we have truly turned a corner," he says. "We need to build back greener, because I think the younger generation will not stand for saying that it's not possible. It clearly is. As we've seen from COVID-19 the world can act when it needs to act. So why won't it?"
Prince William: A Planet For Us All is on Monday at 9pm on ITV
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