Last week, the Duchess of Cambridge officially opened the Natural History Museum’s Hintze Hall, and spoke about marine conservation.
As Patron of the museum, The Duchess attended the unveiling of the new whale skeleton, alongside Sir David Attenborough, and spoke publicly for first time about her interest in marine conservation.
The Duchess was shown around the new hall by Museum Director Sir Michael Dixon and viewed the new ‘Bay of Wonders’ exhibitions with Sir David Attenborough.
Opening to the public on the 14 July 2017, the new Hintze Hall contains abeautiful star display and a skeleton of Earth’s largest known animal, the blue whale – replacing Dippy, the 21.3m resin cast of a diplodocus dinosaur skeleton, which is now on tour around the UK.
After years of excessive hunting, whales were dangerously close to becoming extinct. In 1966, they became the first animal protected by international law and since then populations have slowly recovered.
The Blue Whale skeleton, which was lovingly prepared by curators and scientists for months, has been named Hope – to remind visitors of the fragility of the ocean and our shared responsibility to look after it.
“As we are increasingly learning, marine conservation is a global challenge, for all nations and all people.
“I, personally, have always been in awe of the sea. As someone who has been fortunate to experience scuba diving, something I love doing, and seeing the incredible marine life, I have come to care deeply about life under our waters and the conservation of our oceans.
“Sir David Attenborough has famously talked about the fact that people will not protect what they don’t first care about, and will not care about what they have never experienced. This idea lies at the heart of this new Hintze Hall design. As I stand here tonight, I have every confidence that this spectacular display will go a long way not only inspire a new generation but it will also encourage us all to think about and to care for our marine life.
“Our Blue Whale, Hope, at the heart of the museum will help the millions of visitors that come here each year, experience the wonders of our oceans.”
The Duchess is also Patron of of marine charity the 1851 Trust, but this is the first time HRH has spoken publicly about her interest in marine conservation.