Thirty-six-year-old Prince William recently gave an open interview where he revealed unusual quirks about his father, Prince Charles. The interview that was done by U.K. magazine Country Life was in honor of Prince Charles’ 70th birthday, which is coming up on November 14. According to People, Prince William said that his father takes a special interest in red squirrels, a species that has decreased significantly in population. In the U.K., the number of this species has dropped from 3.5 million to 250,000 in Prince William’s lifetime alone.
“He is completely infatuated by the red squirrels that live around the [Birkhall] estate in Scotland — to the extent that he’s given them names and is allowing them into the house!” William told the magazine.
Prince Charles has discussed his love for the creatures in past interviews. He said he often walks around with a handful of nuts in his pockets so he is always prepared to feed them if they come around. “They come into the house at Birkhall and we get them chasing each other round and round inside. If I sit there quietly, they will do so around me. Sometimes, when I leave my jackets on a chair with nuts in the pockets, I see them with their tails sticking out, as they hunt for nuts — they are incredibly special creatures,” Charles said.
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Later in the interview, Prince William praised his father’s deep love and appreciation for animals and nature. He wants to pass this passion on to his own young children, 5-year-old Prince George of Cambridge, 3-year-old Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, and 6-month-old Prince Louis of Cambridge.
William noted that he has many happy memories from his childhood of exploring the natural world with his father. He says his father often took him and his brother on explorations through the Balmoral estate in the Highlands of Scotland. They had the opportunity to go fishing and hiking, while their father taught them about the land and vegetation. His father also joined Prince William as he embarked on a trip to Africa where he learned about the global environment.
Prince William shares his parent’s passion for protecting the environment and currently serves as the President of United for Wildlife. This organization works to protect wildlife in danger of extinction and prevent the illegal trade of animals by criminal gangs. Their mission is not only to protect these endangered species but also to help raise a global awareness regarding conservation.