HM Elizabeth II-UK

The Queen’s Green Planet: the monarch’s ambitious plan to turn the Commonwealth into a forest

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To her long list of achievements, the Queen can now add stand-up comedy – or, more accurately, stand-up-and-walk-around-a-bit comedy. In a new ITV documentary, The Queen’s Green Planet, the Queen strolls through the gardens of Buckingham Palace with Sir David Attenborough, and early clips released ahead of the broadcast have shown the pair cracking jokes to amuse one another. “The comic timing of our two remarkably playful contributors made the most welcome surprise,” producer Nathaniel Lippiett told Broadcast Now. “The pair sparked off each other, making jokes and sharing stories as they wandered among the trees.” Despite the light tone, the documentary has a serious environmental purpose behind it: promoting The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, a project launched in 2015 to preserve indigenous forests around the world, and to advance sustainable forestry. The documentary will see Prince Harry travel to the Caribbean to plant trees for the Commonwealth Canopy, while the Duke of Cambridge visits the Great Bear Rainforest in Canada.

Since the project began, around 35 countries have dedicated forestry projects to the scheme. Speaking in Malta in 2015, the Queen said she had been “especially touched” by their endeavours. “This and other initiatives are a practical demonstration of the ERpower of the Commonwealth, working as a group, to effect real change for generations to come,” she said. The project has found one of its most high-profile supporters in Angelina Jolie, who travelled to Namibia last summer with her six children – Jolie piloting an airplane across the Namib desert herself – to open a nursery of saplings to replace the desert’s dying trees. “The means so much and will mean so much to so many people,” said Jolie, who has been involved with conservation work in Namibia for several years, having first visited the country in 2003.

In the documentary, the Oscar-winning actress explains why she chose to get involved. “You know when you sit up at night in a tent with your kids and they say, ‘Why does the Queen of England care about planting trees in Africa?’ And to be able to explain that to them is a really nice way of being able to explain… the world at large and what should matter and why,” she said.. “You say to the kids, ‘You know, really, you don’t know her, you can’t understand all that it means to be a queen… She’s just this really lovely lady who really cares about people around the world, and she really cares about the future, and she wants your grandkids and her grandkids to be able to be running around, enjoying nature and other cultures’… She thinks that really matters, and I agree with her.”

For more information about the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, visit: 

queenscommonwealthcanopy.org

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