Prince William's paternal instincts have kicked into overdrive since Kate Middleton gave birth to the couple's first child, Prince George, on July 22. But it's not just his son he wants to protect — it's the whole world. Speaking with Max Foster in a new excerpt from the upcoming CNN special, Prince William's Passion: New Hope, New Father, the first-time dad explains how having a baby has intensified his commitment to his conservation work in Africa.
"Suddenly you start thinking of like, wow, there is stuff you want to safeguard for the future," the 31-year-old royal says. "I've always believed it, but to actually really feel it as well, it's coming through powerfully now."
Prince William hopes to pass that love of conservation on to his son — much like his mother, the late Princess Diana, passed her philanthropic spirit on to him. "She would come back with all these stories and full of excitement and just passion for what she had been doing," he recalls of her trips to Africa in the 1990s. "And I sort of used to sit there, quite a sort of surprised little boy at the time, taking it all in."
He continues: "What I am doing in Africa is probably not as obviously, visually if you like, related to what she did. But helping communities over in the U.K., and around the world…it's about helping the needy and the vulnerable."
The prince notes that the continent has special significance for his wife, too. He and Middleton were in Kenya in 2010 when he proposed. "I didn't really plan it that far in advance, like I just knew I wanted it to feel comfortable where I did it, and I wanted it to mean something, other than just the act of getting engaged," he explains to Foster of their engagement.
"She understands what it means to me being in Africa, and my love of conservation," he adds.
So does that mean a family trip is in the cards? "I think as soon as George grows up a little bit more. I will be hung if I go now," William quips. "It's definitely a plan of mine to go back to Africa. I will always have Africa as a special place that I love to go back to."
In fact, he goes back there in his head sometimes, just to escape from the pressures of his daily life. "I regularly daydream," he confesses. "Africa is definitely one of the places I go to…I have hundreds of animals on my iPhone. So if I am ever having quite a stressful day…you can put a buffalo on in the background or a cricket."
He plans to immerse his son in the African landscape, too. "I'll have toy elephants and rhinos around the room," he said in an earlier excerpt from the interview, referring to his plans for an African-themed nursery. "We'll cover it in, you know, lots of bushes and things like that. [We'll] make him grow up as if he's in the bush."
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