The Prince Of Wales has paid a “much-awaited” tribute to veteran TV presenter Sir David Attenborough in a speech warning of environmental catastrophe.
Charles was greeted by Sir David at the Natural History Museum in London, alongside the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex.
The royals joined in a standing ovation for the naturalist, filmmaker and WWF-UK ambassador ahead of the screening of his upcoming Netflix documentary Our Planet.
Charles offered his thanks to Sir David for his work in raising environmental awareness and lifting a “veil of ignorance” about the natural world.
Speaking beneath the blue whale skeleton in the museum’s Hintze Hall, Charles said: “I’m enormously touched to have been asked here this evening, along with both my sons, to launch this really remarkable series.
“It is also a much-awaited opportunity to pay tribute to and thank Sir David Attenborough for all he has done over so many years to bring the wonder, the fascination, and increasingly the desperate plight, of the natural world to our attention.
“Above all, he has done so much to lift the veil of ignorance from our eyes about the intricate and integrated beauty of our home.”
Charles added that he did not think his sons had been paying attention to his lessons on the natural world when they were growing up, and it has been his “great pride” to now see them working to “redress the balance of nature”.
He warned of the impact of environmental destruction at the screening event, saying: “Climate change is now a very real existential threat. The greatest crime of all is that we knew what we were doing.
“Informed consent being the basis of democracy… informed destruction is the basis for catastrophe.”
Charles added: “We have no choice but to be the change we need, for there is nobody else.”
William and Harry joined in the applause for Sir David, in an evening carrying a strong environmental message.
Premier League footballer Aaron Ramsey was one of the guests at the screening.
William chatted to the Arsenal player, his wife Colleen and Colin Butfield of WWF-UK, who said the prince spoke of “the hopes he had that this message will carry on”.
Ramsey praised William, telling the Press Association: “I met him at the FA Cup finals, but that’s the first time I’ve had a conversation with him.”
He praised the royals for their environmental support, adding: “It’s brilliant. To have the royals behind it is fantastic backing. They do really lead by example. It’s perfect for us”
His wife added: “It’s needed, we’re ready for it, or if we’re not ready for it, we should be.”
David Beckham and his son Brooklyn were also among the guests who talked with Charles.
Our Planet has been created for Netflix in collaboration with WWF and Silverback Films. It takes viewers from the Arctic wilderness to the diverse jungles of South America, with never-before-seen footage of wildlife, to reveal the importance of nature and the steps needed to protect it.
Eight episodes will be available on Netflix from Friday April 5.