The Queen’s Green Planet
Monday, ITV, 9pm
No, Her Majesty has not got her own planet. Despite what David Icke would have you believe, Queen Elizabeth II is entirely terrestrial in nature. This documentary follows the monarch’s efforts to fashion a long-lasting legacy through an ambitious project to create a vast network of protected forests that span the globe.
It’s something that will directly benefit all 53 countries in the Commonwealth and hopefully the planet as a whole. Forests are, after all, the lungs of the Earth.
The scheme, called the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy, combines her deeply held commitment to the Commonwealth and her less well-known love of trees (this perhaps prompted by the various gifts she has received over the years — as she explains in this programme, speaking to none other than David Attenborough, “I’ve been quite difficult to give presents to so ... they’ve said, ‘Oh, let’s give her a plant’”).
With both the Queen and Attenborough involved, this is already a must-see. Throw in princes Harry and William, Hollywood star Angelina Jolie and her family and other talking heads as well, and this is quite possibly one of the biggest collection of huge names ever to be brought together in a single hour of television.
At the heart of the piece, though, is the Queen herself, in conversation with Attenborough. In their informal and often humorous discussions, which take in everything from conkers to climate change, Her Majesty reveals the depths of her passion for the natural world, explaining how the gardens of Buckingham Palace are intertwined with the history of her family.
Elsewhere, veteran Labour MP Frank Field, who originally conceived the project, explains how hard it was to get his idea off the ground — until the monarch stepped in, that is. He says: “I tried to get governments to do something to link the rainforests together in the Commonwealth, but nobody was interested at all. The Queen jumped at it. I mean, it’s extraordinary. I think she saw it as a way of a new politics for the Commonwealth.”