The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have introduced their baby son to an unlikely childhood hero, chimpanzee expert Dr Jane Goodall.
Harry and Meghan are huge fans of the world renowned primatologist and invited her to their Frogmore Cottage home in June where she cuddled Archie, then five weeks old.
On Tuesday, Dr Goodall welcomed the duke to a meeting of her Roots and Shoots youth empowerment project to learn more about the initiative where he spoke out against the scourge of plastic he dubbed society’s “dirty habit”.
She believes Harry’s interest in her programme, which encourages young people to improve their lives, communities and local wildlife for the better, stems from the royal becoming a father.
She said she quizzed the duke about fatherhood telling him “Of course you’re interested in Roots and Shoots, especially now you have a baby and he said ‘yes of course’.
“When you bring a child into the world today you have to worry about the future. If we don’t make change we don’t have a future.”
The conservationist said she “clicked” with the duke during their first meeting at Kensington Palace last December and hopes to join forces with him.
She said they wanted to “collaborate and work together to raise awareness about conservation and the need to conserve the natural world” and hoped fans of Harry, who may not be interested in the issue, would be drawn to find out more.
Meghan has also been an admirer of the 85-year-old for many years, Dr Goodall said: “She told me ‘I’ve hero-worshipped you all my life, you’ve been my idol since I was a child’.”
Dr Goodall’s work with chimpanzees has made her an international figure due to her findings and she is credited with making the first recorded observations of chimpanzees using tools and eating meat.
Roots and Shoots is a programme of the Jane Goodall Institute and the meeting of young people from across the world involved in the project was staged at St George’s House in the grounds of Windsor Castle.
During his visit Harry toured stands where groups of young people had written down their conclusions about issues from sustainable fashion to the use of plastics.
He told the young people who had been debating plastics: “It doesn’t make sense to find everything in plastic, plastic within plastic. Gone are the days when you grabbed 10 carrots, took them home and gave them a shave, now you’re buying shaved carrots in a plastic bag, why?
“Again we’ve slipped into this dirty habit, that’s what it is right, it’s a dirty habit where it’s become normalised. Now the younger generation are coming along and saying – this is crazy, this doesn’t make any sense at all.”
When the duke first arrived he was introduced by Dr Goodall and she asked if he remembered the chimpanzee greeting she had taught him and they acted it out.
In a speech he praised the chimpanzee expert describing her as a “woman of kindness, warmth, immense knowledge and a softness that’s needed by mankind just as much as it is chimpkind.
“I’ve been admiring her work since I was a kid and it was so wonderful to find that she was even more amazing in person. She even treated me to a chimp welcome which only Jane can do! Well, and chimps.”
He told the young people in the room, some of whom had given presentations about their projects back home, that they had the tools to “save our planet”.
Harry also said to the group, from places as diverse as Iceland and Burundi: “I truly believe that the heart of conservation and sustainability is about people.
“For any of our efforts to succeed, an inclusive, community-centred approach where they benefit from safeguarding their natural assets, is what works; and we have seen that proven time and time again, but sadly not to scale quite yet.”