Prince William and Kate Middleton have found their eldest son, Prince George, inadvertently at the centre of an awkward debate after what was meant to have been a sweet story shared with the public. Oh dear, oh dear.
Over the weekend, photographs were released of Sir David Attenborough visiting the Cambridge family at their home in Kensington Palace for a special screening of his new documentary, A Life On Our Planet. Along with a picture that showed Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis to be absolutely overwhelmed at meeting their TV idol, another photo depicts seven-year-old George examining a gift given to him by the world-famous naturalist. The present was a fossilised tooth from an extinct type of shark; a Carcharocles megalodon, which was one of the most feared predators to have swum in the seas.
The incredible memento was found by Sir David during a family holiday to Malta in the late 1960s, and is thought to be around 23 million years old. However, upon publication of the story of how he came to attain it, Malta's culture minister has kind of suggested they might want it back. Well, that's awkward.
Speaking to the Times of Malta newspaper, minister Jose Herrera said: "There are some artefacts that are important to Maltese natural heritage and which ended up abroad and deserve to be retrieved.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted to share new photographs of their family with @DavidAttenborough. The photographs were taken earlier this week in the gardens of Kensington Palace, after The Duke and Sir David attended an outdoor screening of Sir David’s upcoming feature film 🎞️ ‘David Attenborough: A Life On Our Planet’. With a shared passion for protecting the natural world, they continue to support one another in their missions to tackle some of the biggest environmental challenges our planet faces. This includes working together on The @EarthshotPrize 🌍 the most prestigious global environment prize in history – further details of which will be shared in the coming weeks. When they met, Sir David gave Prince George a tooth from a giant shark 🦷 the scientific name of which is carcharocles megalodon (‘big tooth’). Sir David found the tooth on a family holiday to Malta in the late 1960s, embedded in the island’s soft yellow limestone which was laid down during the Miocene period some 23 million years ago. Carcharocles is believed to have grown to 15 metres in length, which is about twice the length of the Great White, the largest shark alive today.
A post shared by Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@kensingtonroyal) on Sep 26, 2020 at 2:30pm PDT
"We rightly give a lot of attention to historical and artistic artefacts. However, it is not always the case with our natural history. I am determined to direct a change in this attitude," he continued.
It's arguable that fossils such as the shark tooth in question could fall under the definition of cultural heritage as a "moveable or immovable object of geological importance". Oops.
As ITV's Royal Editor Chris Ship put it on Twitter: "I doubt this was how Kensington Palace thought the story would go." Yup.
A post shared by Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@kensingtonroyal) on Sep 25, 2020 at 1:00pm PDT
It remains to be seen whether or not Malta really will prize the fossilised shark tooth out of the young Prince's hands, but it has been reported that such items aren't totally uncommon, so hopefully they'll let George keep this one and set their sights on finding another. I mean, it's fair to say that Sir David Attenborough has done more than his fair share of good for the environment, so maybe we can let this one go as a thanks?
Still, anyone else feel a bit awkward? Let's swiftly move the conversation on to the weather or something.
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