Queen puts on brave face as she presents Sir David Attenborough with top award moments after Prince Andrew announcement – Evening Standard

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Queen puts on brave face as she presents Sir David Attenborough with top award moments after Prince Andrew announcement – Evening Standard

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The Queen put on a brave face tonight as she presented her old friend Sir David Attenborough with a top international award, moments after her son the Duke of York announced he was stepping back from public life.

The monarch, 93, arrived at Chatham House just 24 minutes after Buckingham Palace issued the bombshell statement from Prince Andrew following days of media scrutiny over his friendship with the convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

She showed no sign of strain and seemed delighted to present Sir David and Julian Hector, head of the BBC Natural History Unit, with the Chatham House Prize for 2019 for their work to highlight ocean plastic pollution.

Her visit to the Royal Institute of International Affairs had not been announced in advance and there were gasps of surprise and delight as she was introduced to the audience in the packed Joseph Gaggero Hall.

Queen and David Attenborough at Chatham House – In pictures

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David Attenborough sits next to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth during the annual Chatham House award

Reuters

2/9

The Queen gives an award to Sir David Attenborough at Chatham House

POOL/AFP via Getty Images

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Queen Elizabeth and David Attenborough react during the annual Chatham House award

Reuters

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David Attenborough sits next to Queen Elizabeth

Reuters

5/9

Queen Elizabeth presents the 2019 Chatham House Prize David Attenborough and Head of the BBC’s Natural History Unit, Julian Hector

POOL/AFP via Getty Images

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The Queen arrives at Chatham House

POOL/AFP via Getty Images

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Queen Elizabeth attends the annual Chatham House award

POOL/AFP via Getty Images

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Queen Elizabeth attends the annual Chatham House award

Getty Images

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Queen Elizabeth attends the annual Chatham House award

Reuters

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David Attenborough sits next to Britain’s Queen Elizabeth during the annual Chatham House award

Reuters

2/9

The Queen gives an award to Sir David Attenborough at Chatham House

POOL/AFP via Getty Images

3/9

Queen Elizabeth and David Attenborough react during the annual Chatham House award

Reuters

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David Attenborough sits next to Queen Elizabeth

Reuters

5/9

Queen Elizabeth presents the 2019 Chatham House Prize David Attenborough and Head of the BBC’s Natural History Unit, Julian Hector

POOL/AFP via Getty Images

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The Queen arrives at Chatham House

POOL/AFP via Getty Images

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Queen Elizabeth attends the annual Chatham House award

POOL/AFP via Getty Images

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Queen Elizabeth attends the annual Chatham House award

Getty Images

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Queen Elizabeth attends the annual Chatham House award

Reuters

And there was laughter as she told the TV legend: “Sir David, this award recognises your many talents and one can’t help but feel that, for those of us of a certain generation, we can take great pleasure in proving age is no barrier to being a positive influence.”

The annual prize recognises the person, people or organisation deemed to have made the most significant contribution to improving international relations in the previous year.

Sir David receives his award from the Queen (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Sir David and the BBC were honoured for “the galvanising impact of the Blue Planet II series on tackling ocean plastic pollution.” 

The Blue Planet II series highlighted the damage caused by discarded plastics to the world’s oceans and marine wildlife. It is estimated that there are more than 150 million tonnes of plastic in the world’s oceans; resulting in the deaths of 1 million birds and 100,000 sea mammals each year. 

Sir David Attenborough – In pictures

1/33 Best of the best

Sir David Attenborough in 2015

PA

2/33 BAFTA winner 2011

Sir David Attenborough with the Specialist Factual award at the Philips British Academy Television Awards at the Grosvenor House in 2011

PA

3/33 Big Butterfly

Butterfly Conservation President Sir David Attenborough with a south east Asian Great Mormon Butterfly on his nose, as he launched the Big Butterfly count at the London Zoo in Regent’s Park, London in 2012. The broadcaster and naturalist will turn 90 on May 8

PA

4/33 Family

Sir David Attenborough (left) with his wife Jane Oriel and older brother and film actor Richard Attenborough at St. Anne’s Church, Kew Green in 1950

PA

5/33 Look what I brought home …

Sir David Attenborough holding his son Robert in 1955, whilst looking at an animal called a coatimundi, brought home from the combined London Zoo – BBC expedition to British Guiana

PA

6/33 Super furry animals

Sir David Attenborough with six-year-old Michael Webb of Kingsbury pets a Capybara after Sir David had lectured to children on the ‘Zoological Expedition to British Guiana’ at the Royal Geographical Society in Kensington, London in 1956

PA

7/33 Cover your ears

Sir David Attenborough with his three-year-old daughter Susan, as they cover their ears while sulphur-crested cockatoo Georgie lets out a piercing shriek in 1957

PA

8/33 Royal visit

Prince Charles with his sister Princess Anne meeting Sir David Attenborough and Cocky, the cockatoo brought back from his last Zoo Quest expedition, at the BBC Television Studios in Lime Grove, London in 1958

PA

9/33 In the land of Television

Mr. Michael Peacock, Controller of BBC 1, Mr. Huw Wheldon, Controller of Television Programmes and Sir David Attenborough, Controller of BBC 2, at the BBC Television Centre, White City in 1965

PA

10/33 Medal of honour

1966: Sir David Attenborough receiving the Zoological Society of London’s silver medal from the president, the Duke of Edinburgh, at the annual general meeting in London

PA

11/33 Award winning

Sir David Attenborough winner of the 1970 Desmond Davis Award presented by HRH Princess Anne in 1971

Rex

12/33 Park life

Sir David Attenborough In Richmond Park in 1908

Clive Limpkin/Daily Mai

13/33 Watch the Birdie

Sir David Attenborough in 1980

Mike Hollist/Associated News

14/33 Monkey business

Sir David Attenborough in 1982

Rex

15/33 Nature experts

Johnny Morris, Sir David Attenborough, Desmond Morris and Sir Peter Scott in 1982

PA

16/33 Investiture

Sir David Attenborough after being knighted by the Queen at an Sir David Attenborough after being knighted by the Queen at an investiture at Buckingham Palace, London, with his wife Jane (right) and daughter Susan at Buckingham Palace, London, with his wife Jane (right) and daughter Susan in 1985

PA

17/33 Sharing a giggle

Richard and David Attenborough in 2001

Rex

18/33 Watch the Meerkat

Sir David Attenborough with meerkat on shoulder being filmed for BBC series Life of Mammals in 2002

Rex

19/33 Honorary degree

Sir David Attenborough receiving an honorary degree at Oxford Brookes University in 2003

Rex

20/33 Relaxing at home

Sir David Attenborough relaxing at his home in 2004

Rex

21/33 Exceptional acheivements

Queen Elizabeth II presenting Sir David Attenborough with the Insignia of the Order of Merit, a personal award from the Queen recognising exceptional achievements in the advancement of arts, learning, literature and science in 2005

PA

22/33 Opening up

Michael Parkinson interviews Sir David Attenborough in 2007

Rex

23/33 Sign here please Sir!

Sir David Attenborough meeting fans and signing copies of his new book, Life Stories, at the Natural History Museum, London in 2009

PA

24/33 The Darwin Centre

Prince William (left) and Sir David Attenborough at the opening of The Darwin Centre at The Natural History Museum, London in 2009

PA

25/33 Doulbe take

Sir David Attenborough poses with a floral sculpture of himself outside the gates at Kew Gardens in 2012

Rex

26/33 Princely visit

Duke of Cambridge with Sir David Attenborough at King’s College London in 2015

PA

27/33 Radio (Times) Star

Radio Times editor Ben Preston (left) presenting Sir David Attenborough with his induction into the Radio Times’ inaugural Hall of Fame at the Radio Times Festival at the Green at Hampton Court Palace in 2015

PA

28/33 Royal welcome

Catherine Duchess of Cambridge meeting Helen Mirren, as Sir David Attenborough looks on at a reception for the Dramatic Arts, Buckingham Palace in 2014

Rex

29/33 Chat show laughs

Sir David Attenborough during filming of the Graham Norton Show

PA

30/33

Naturalist Sir David Attenborough giving evidence to the House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee

PA

31/33

Sir David Attenborough with Pat Cash on day eleven of the Wimbledon Championships

Mike Egerton/PA

32/33

Sir David Attenborough making a surprise appearance at Glastonbury

PA

33/33

Sir David Attenborough in Iceland ahead of BBC’s new natural history series Seven Worlds, One Planet.

1/33 Best of the best

Sir David Attenborough in 2015

PA

2/33 BAFTA winner 2011

Sir David Attenborough with the Specialist Factual award at the Philips British Academy Television Awards at the Grosvenor House in 2011

PA

3/33 Big Butterfly

Butterfly Conservation President Sir David Attenborough with a south east Asian Great Mormon Butterfly on his nose, as he launched the Big Butterfly count at the London Zoo in Regent’s Park, London in 2012. The broadcaster and naturalist will turn 90 on May 8

PA

4/33 Family

Sir David Attenborough (left) with his wife Jane Oriel and older brother and film actor Richard Attenborough at St. Anne’s Church, Kew Green in 1950

PA

5/33 Look what I brought home …

Sir David Attenborough holding his son Robert in 1955, whilst looking at an animal called a coatimundi, brought home from the combined London Zoo – BBC expedition to British Guiana

PA

6/33 Super furry animals

Sir David Attenborough with six-year-old Michael Webb of Kingsbury pets a Capybara after Sir David had lectured to children on the ‘Zoological Expedition to British Guiana’ at the Royal Geographical Society in Kensington, London in 1956

PA

7/33 Cover your ears

Sir David Attenborough with his three-year-old daughter Susan, as they cover their ears while sulphur-crested cockatoo Georgie lets out a piercing shriek in 1957

PA

8/33 Royal visit

Prince Charles with his sister Princess Anne meeting Sir David Attenborough and Cocky, the cockatoo brought back from his last Zoo Quest expedition, at the BBC Television Studios in Lime Grove, London in 1958

PA

9/33 In the land of Television

Mr. Michael Peacock, Controller of BBC 1, Mr. Huw Wheldon, Controller of Television Programmes and Sir David Attenborough, Controller of BBC 2, at the BBC Television Centre, White City in 1965

PA

10/33 Medal of honour

1966: Sir David Attenborough receiving the Zoological Society of London’s silver medal from the president, the Duke of Edinburgh, at the annual general meeting in London

PA

11/33 Award winning

Sir David Attenborough winner of the 1970 Desmond Davis Award presented by HRH Princess Anne in 1971

Rex

12/33 Park life

Sir David Attenborough In Richmond Park in 1908

Clive Limpkin/Daily Mai

13/33 Watch the Birdie

Sir David Attenborough in 1980

Mike Hollist/Associated News

14/33 Monkey business

Sir David Attenborough in 1982

Rex

15/33 Nature experts

Johnny Morris, Sir David Attenborough, Desmond Morris and Sir Peter Scott in 1982

PA

16/33 Investiture

Sir David Attenborough after being knighted by the Queen at an Sir David Attenborough after being knighted by the Queen at an investiture at Buckingham Palace, London, with his wife Jane (right) and daughter Susan at Buckingham Palace, London, with his wife Jane (right) and daughter Susan in 1985

PA

17/33 Sharing a giggle

Richard and David Attenborough in 2001

Rex

18/33 Watch the Meerkat

Sir David Attenborough with meerkat on shoulder being filmed for BBC series Life of Mammals in 2002

Rex

19/33 Honorary degree

Sir David Attenborough receiving an honorary degree at Oxford Brookes University in 2003

Rex

20/33 Relaxing at home

Sir David Attenborough relaxing at his home in 2004

Rex

21/33 Exceptional acheivements

Queen Elizabeth II presenting Sir David Attenborough with the Insignia of the Order of Merit, a personal award from the Queen recognising exceptional achievements in the advancement of arts, learning, literature and science in 2005

PA

22/33 Opening up

Michael Parkinson interviews Sir David Attenborough in 2007

Rex

23/33 Sign here please Sir!

Sir David Attenborough meeting fans and signing copies of his new book, Life Stories, at the Natural History Museum, London in 2009

PA

24/33 The Darwin Centre

Prince William (left) and Sir David Attenborough at the opening of The Darwin Centre at The Natural History Museum, London in 2009

PA

25/33 Doulbe take

Sir David Attenborough poses with a floral sculpture of himself outside the gates at Kew Gardens in 2012

Rex

26/33 Princely visit

Duke of Cambridge with Sir David Attenborough at King’s College London in 2015

PA

27/33 Radio (Times) Star

Radio Times editor Ben Preston (left) presenting Sir David Attenborough with his induction into the Radio Times’ inaugural Hall of Fame at the Radio Times Festival at the Green at Hampton Court Palace in 2015

PA

28/33 Royal welcome

Catherine Duchess of Cambridge meeting Helen Mirren, as Sir David Attenborough looks on at a reception for the Dramatic Arts, Buckingham Palace in 2014

Rex

29/33 Chat show laughs

Sir David Attenborough during filming of the Graham Norton Show

PA

30/33

Naturalist Sir David Attenborough giving evidence to the House of Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee

PA

31/33

Sir David Attenborough with Pat Cash on day eleven of the Wimbledon Championships

Mike Egerton/PA

32/33

Sir David Attenborough making a surprise appearance at Glastonbury

PA

33/33

Sir David Attenborough in Iceland ahead of BBC’s new natural history series Seven Worlds, One Planet.

Accepting the award, Sir David said: “Never has there been a greater need for international cooperation on international solutions. They won’t be easy to win.

“Politicians have to look to the people who elect them who assume that they will be number one on the list. That cannot remain to be so.

“We are citizens of the world and they must recognise that. And international cooperation, which is the subject of this organisation is of paramount importance. 

“If this international organisation considers what we have done in the Natural History Unit has in some way helped spread an awareness of the problems that face the world, that in some way will convince the population of the world that we all belong to one world and just the one world belongs to us, then this award pleases me more than I can say, I am most grateful for it, thank you.”

the Queen gave permission for the Duke of York (pictured) to effectively stop being a working royal (AFP via Getty Images)

The award presentation came just after the Queen gave permission for the Duke of York, her second son, to effectively stop being a working royal.

The unprecedented move comes amid the fallout from his “car crash” BBC television interview last weekend in which he tried to clear his name.

In the statement Andrew said it had become clear to him that his friendship with the late billionaire convicted paedophile had caused “major disruption” to the Royal Family’s work.

He also said that he is willing to help “any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations” into the sex offender, who killed himself in prison while facing sex trafficking charges.

The duke said: “It has become clear to me over the last few days that the circumstances relating to my former association with Jeffrey Epstein has become a major disruption to my family’s work and the valuable work going on in the many organisations and charities that I am proud to support.

The Queen presents the Chatham House Prize to Sir David Attenborough and head of the BBC’s Natural History Unit, Julian Hector (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

“Therefore, I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission.

“I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein. His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure.

“I can only hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives.

“Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required.”

Epstein died awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges in August.

Andrew has been heavily criticised following his BBC interview with Emily Maitlis in which he discussed his links with the disgraced financier.

Pressure has been mounting in recent days over his royal role, with firms including telecoms giant BT and bank Barclays among a number of multimillion-pound businesses, universities and charities to distance themselves from him.

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