Prince William has admitted that his visits to Africa, a place close to his heart, have made the young royal more emotional and protective over his newborn son Prince George.
The Duke of Cambridge, who welcomed the birth of his first child with Kate Middleton in July, recalled the first time he travelled to Kenya at the age of 17 and saw an elephant that had been darted.
“It just blew my mind really,” said Prince William, speaking to CNN. “It was being that close to something so huge, something so majestic and seeing its vulnerability. It was lying in the middle of the road just breathing away with its ears flapped over its eyes to shut it from the sun.
“Suddenly you start thinking, wow, there is stuff you want to safeguard for the future. I’ve always believed it, but to actually really feel it as well, it’s coming through powerfully now as well.”
PHOTO FOR GALLERY
It was speculated that the new father may follow in his late mother Princess Diana‘s footsteps and take Prince George on his first trip overseas to Australia. Prince William may, however, also choose Africa as an upcoming destination.
“I think as soon as George grows up a little bit more,” he said of his next schedule to travel. “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.”
Kenya in particular is clearly an emotional place for the prince, who chose the East African country to propose to his beautiful wife Kate.
“I didn’t really plan it that far in advance,” he said, speaking about the proposal. “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. [Kate] understands what it means to me being in Africa.”
It was Princess Diana who first inspired her son to travel to the wild continent, as she was so heavily-involved with charity work there.
“She would come back with all these stories and full of excitement and just passion for what she had been doing,” said the prince. “And I sort of used to sit there, quite a sort of surprised little boy at the time, taking it all in.”
As a patron of elephant conservation charity Tusk since 2005, Prince William admitted that his projects were not as obviously related to those of his late mother. The new father has been visiting conservation projects and attended fundraising events on the charity’s behalf.
When the stresses of everyday life kick in, the prince admitted he daydreams of Africa to help him unwind.
“Africa is definitely one of the places I go to,” he said. “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. It takes you back instantly to the bush. And it does completely settle me down.”
The full interview, entitled Prince William’s Passion: New Hope, New Father and hosted by Max Foster, will be aired on CNN International on 16 September.