The Queen’s Green Planet

Mon­day, ITV, 9pm

Belfast Telegraph - Weekend - - WEEKEND TV -

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.”

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