On Monday, nature icon David Attenborough traveled to London’s Richmond Park to plant an oak tree in honor of his late friend, Queen Elizabeth II. He also led a tree planting masterclass with broadcaster Clare Balding and a group of junior foresters who represent the Queen’s Green Canopy charity, and said a few words about the queen’s natural legacy.
“The Queen’s Green Canopy has created an invaluable national legacy for our children, future generations and the planet itself,” Attenborough said, according to The Telegraph. “The late Queen was very fond of the Royal Parks and was a great lover of trees, so this is a fitting tribute to her memory. Its creation also marks the continuing conservation of this protected landscape, and the wonderful wildlife within, so that it can be enjoyed by many generations to come.”
The Telegraph added that Attenborough’s oak was just one of 70 trees recently planted in the park to honor the queen. “They have been planted around a focal point which will later incorporate a seating area for rest and reflection, with the larger canopy trees complemented by smaller native trees and hedging such as hawthorn, blackthorn, hazel, elder and dogwood,” they added. “It is hoped it will create a new habitat to support wildlife, including the endangered white-letter hairstreak butterfly and the cardinal click beetle.”
In May 2021, the queen and King Charles III launched the Queen’s Green Canopy by planting their own sapling near Windsor Castle. They were promoting an initiative called Plant a Tree for the Jubilee, which aimed to plant trees across the United Kingdom in honor of the monarch’s 70 years on the throne. The program grew out of a 2015 initiative called the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, where she asked governments in the voluntary group to set aside acreage of native forest in her honor.
The queen celebrated the success of the jubilee plantings with a heartfelt message after its initial planting season. “I am deeply touched that so many community groups, schools, families and individuals have made their own unique contributions to the Green Canopy initiative,” she wrote in March 2022. “I hope your Jubilee trees flourish and grow for many years to come, for future generations to enjoy.” But after her death, the QGC decided to extend the program to the end of March 2023, so that further trees could be planted in her honor.
Attenborough and the late queen, who were born days apart in 1926, shared their love of trees in the 2018 BBC documentary The Queen’s Green Planet, which focused on the work done by the queen’s commonwealth initiative. The pair traveled through a 40-acre royal park, and the queen pointed out a few of the trees that have been planted in honor of members of the royal family’s honor.