Royal Dinner at St James’s Palace

In celebration of 30 years of Whitley Fund for Nature, a special evening was hosted by WFN’s Patron, HRH The Princess Royal.

To close out the week of 30th anniversary celebrations, Her Royal Highness graciously hosted a dinner for the Gold Award winners and the charity’s champion supporters, both long term friends and new advocates.

Having joined as Patron almost 25 years ago, The Princess Royal has never missed an Awards Ceremony since. Her participation in the ceremony is critical to raising the profile of the winners, giving them credibility and international recognition.

The charity’s founder, Edward Whitley, thanked HRH in the evening’s opening speech, explaining her impact:

“We designed our Awards to provide maximum leverage:  Sir David Attenborough has narrated our winners’ films…we provide funding which is often matched and matched again, we try to provide Press coverage…And over all these activities, and over all the years, The Princess Royal provides a stamp of approval which is one of the most invaluable currencies in the world.”

We were honoured to have the Gold Award winners speak throughout the evening. Trustee and Gold Award winner Dino Martins reminded us of the connections between ourselves and nature, and Hotlin Ompusunggu led us in a traditional Indonesian blessing before the meal. Zafer Kizilkaya spoke on the incredible success he’s achieved in the Mediterranean, bringing several marine species back from the brink. Rodrigo Medellin thanked the Whitley Fund for Nature for the recognition the charity gave him early on his career, allowing him to grow his impact and leverage further funding.

Dr Shivani Bhalla led an inspiring Loyal Toast and introduced the charity’s Patron. HRH reflected on the growth of the charity over the past 30 years, congratulating the winners on their successes and perseverance, and looking ahead to the next 30 years.

It was a wonderful celebration and an inspiring evening!

We echo Edward’s closing sentiments to the Princess:

“Thank you very much for your magnificent support for almost 25 years.  You have helped to transform the charity from something of a pipe dream now to encompass the vibrant and effective team of committed leaders who are here tonight…and all the other winners you have met and galvanized.”

Did you see that HRH The Princess Royal spoke to The Telegraph magazine about her connection with the Whitley Fund for Nature?

The thoughtful and wide ranging interview covers a good deal of our work as we celebrate our 30th anniversary. Read it here.