Princess Anne admits ‘rewilding at scale isn’t necessarily a good idea’ – as she recalls her friendship with ‘entertaining’ conversationist Gerald Durrell

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Princess Anne admits ‘rewilding at scale isn’t necessarily a good idea’ – as she recalls her friendship with ‘entertaining’ conversationist Gerald Durrell

Princess Anne has admitted that she isn't sure 'rewilding at scale is necessarily a good idea' as she marked the 30th anniversary of a wildlife conser

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Princess Anne has admitted that she isn’t sure ‘rewilding at scale is necessarily a good idea’ as she marked the 30th anniversary of a wildlife conservation charity she has backed for 24 years.

The Princess Royal, 73, is known as the UK’s most hard-working royal for good reason; she is involved with more than 300 charities, organisations and military regiments.  

One of these is the Whitley Fund for Nature, which was launched as the Whitley Awards in 1993 – and has since raised £20million for around 200 conservationists in 80 countries. 

Anne’s involvement with the charity is indicative of her great passion for nature, one she brings home to her 18-century manor estate at Gatcombe Park, Gloucestershire.

She told The Telegraph that she isn’t sure ‘rewilding at scale is necessarily a good idea – it probably is in corners, but if you’re not careful you rewild all the wrong things because they are just the things that are more successful at growing’.

Princess Anne has admitted that she isn't sure 'rewilding at scale is necessarily a good idea' as she marked the 30th anniversary of a wildlife conservation charity she has backed for 24 years

Princess Anne has admitted that she isn't sure 'rewilding at scale is necessarily a good idea' as she marked the 30th anniversary of a wildlife conservation charity she has backed for 24 years

Princess Anne has admitted that she isn’t sure ‘rewilding at scale is necessarily a good idea’ as she marked the 30th anniversary of a wildlife conservation charity she has backed for 24 years

Rewilding is the process of allowing an area to return to a wilder or more natural state. This is largely by bringing back native plants, and not interfering in growth.

The princess said her issue at home is ragwort, which lots of people think is ‘absolutely brilliant because butterflies love it, but it’s not good for horses’ – it is, in fact, toxic.

Anne is an accomplished equestrian – a talent shared with her daughter, Zara Tindall – and she keeps a number of horses at her home estate in Gatcombe Park.

She told the newspaper: ‘I would say don’t take all the ragwort out, just where the horses are – but it’s quite a delicate balance.’

Anne has been a patron of the Whitley Fund for Nature for 24 years, and she credits her involvement with her brother, Prince Edward, and author and conservationist Gerald Durrell.

She grew up reading the late author’s books about his life in Corfu, and later became patron of his zoo in Jersey – part of what is now the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust – in 1972.

The royal said: ‘He and I had similar beliefs in what Gerald was doing. Apart from the fact that Gerald wrote very good books, during his travels he seemed to understand better than most the impact on the populations in which animals lived and the relationship between them and their animals. 

‘Being told you have to save this, that and the other is all very well but have you been there? Have you ever tried living in that environment to find out what that means to them? Because the fundamental point is that unless the conservation comes from the local area, it won’t be sustained.’

The Princess Royal, 73, is known as the UK's most hard-working royal for good reason; she is involved with more than 300 charities, organisations and military regiments. Pictured: Anne in Gambia

The Princess Royal, 73, is known as the UK's most hard-working royal for good reason; she is involved with more than 300 charities, organisations and military regiments. Pictured: Anne in Gambia

The Princess Royal, 73, is known as the UK’s most hard-working royal for good reason; she is involved with more than 300 charities, organisations and military regiments. Pictured: Anne in Gambia

Pictured: Princess Anne

Pictured: Princess Anne

Pictured: Princess Anne

Pictured: Princess Anne

The princess said her issue at home is ragwort, which lots of people think is ‘absolutely brilliant because butterflies love it, but it’s not good for horses’ – it is, in fact, toxic

Anne has been a patron of the Whitley Fund for Nature for 24 years, and she credits her involvement with her brother, Prince Edward, and author and conservationist Gerald Durrell (above)

Anne has been a patron of the Whitley Fund for Nature for 24 years, and she credits her involvement with her brother, Prince Edward, and author and conservationist Gerald Durrell (above)

Anne has been a patron of the Whitley Fund for Nature for 24 years, and she credits her involvement with her brother, Prince Edward, and author and conservationist Gerald Durrell (above)

Anne described Durrell as ‘every bit as entertaining as you would think’.

She said his ‘humour but also his understanding of the relative importance of things in other people’s lives was absolutely fascinating – and he was spot on’.

Durrell died in January 1995 at the age of 70. He was an alcoholic and successfully received a liver transplant, but later died due to complications of the surgery.

Anne’s far-reaching interview with The Telegraph comes as she paid a touching tribute to her mother as she sported Queen Elizabeth II’s Admiral’s Cloak for Choral Evensong at the Temple Church in London.

Wearing the stunningly elegant cape donned by the late monarch in several portraits – including a famous set of photographs by Cecil Beaton – the Princess Royal read out a Bible Passage from 1 Corinthians.

Anne described conservationist Gerald Durrell as 'every bit as entertaining as you would think'

Anne described conservationist Gerald Durrell as 'every bit as entertaining as you would think'

Anne described conservationist Gerald Durrell as ‘every bit as entertaining as you would think’

Durrell died in January 1995 at the age of 70. He was an alcoholic and successfully received a liver transplant, but later died due to complications of the surgery

Durrell died in January 1995 at the age of 70. He was an alcoholic and successfully received a liver transplant, but later died due to complications of the surgery

Durrell died in January 1995 at the age of 70. He was an alcoholic and successfully received a liver transplant, but later died due to complications of the surgery

The Queen – who passed away in September last year – can also be seen wearing it in an iconic 2007 Annie Leibovitz portrait.

Anne appeared moved by the evening service at the Temple Church, which is a royal peculiar – meaning that it is under the direct jurisdiction of the monarch rather than the province in which it lies.

Her voice was confident as she read the scripture, which started with the words: ‘Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.’

‘And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.’

A passages from 1 Corinthians was also read out at the Queen’s funeral.

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