Prince William is the latest in a long line of royal patrons from whose support FFI has benefitted throughout the organisation’s long and distinguished history.
Our first royal patron, the future Edward VIII, came on board in 1928, having been converted to the conservation cause as a result of experiencing a Kenyan safari that involved viewing wildlife through a camera lens rather than the sights of a rifle. He retained this role during his brief tenure as monarch.
King George VI graciously consented to assume the mantle of royal patron in February 1937, shortly after ascending the throne following his brother’s abdication, and his patronage continued throughout his reign.
In 1946, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret attended the society’s annual general meeting in order to watch a film about Kruger National Park, which FFI was instrumental in establishing, and which they were scheduled to visit the following year.
The safari theme was to feature even more prominently in the life of the then Princess Elizabeth less than six years later, as it was while at Treetops game-viewing lodge in Kenya that she heard of the death of her father, waking to find herself elevated to the throne at the age of 25.
After her coronation, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II kindly agreed to inherit her late father’s mantle as patron of the society, a position that she held for almost seven decades.