Broadcaster and renowned naturalist Sir David Attenborough has paid tribute to Prince Philip’s life and legacy as coverage of the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral began early Saturday.

Appearing on the BBC, Attenborough spoke with particular passion about Philip’s conservation work. “He was right there at the beginning at a time when conservation didn’t mean much to many people,” Attenborough said.

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“Even in the 1950s and ’60s he saw it universally. The World Wildlife Fund owed a huge amount to his presence. When he spoke about conservation, he spoke about it with passion and knowledge.”

Sir David Attenborough on the BBC on Saturday April 17, 2021.
Sir David Attenborough on the BBC on Saturday April 17, 2021. — BBC

Beyond his work as an environmentalist, Attenborough also spoke of Prince Philip’s character. “He was an extraordinary combination of being formidable and friendly. You knew he was there. He had an amazing presence. It was an extraordinary balancing act between formality and informality.”

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Last week, Attenborough hosted a special programme for ITV News on Prince Philip, titled, “The Duke Fondly Remembered”.

Prince Philip passed away last Friday, April 9 at Windsor Castle. He was the longest serving British consort in history. He was 99.