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The Telegraph: Ronnie Wood invites Prince William on new Rolling Stones tour

Ronnie Wood may have secured a new Rolling Stones fan after he encouraged the Prince of Wales to see the band’s tour as they celebrated conservationists in London.

Prince William and the Stones’ guitarist spoke on Monday at the 11th annual Tusk Conservation Awards, which recognises leading wildlife pioneers.

Prince William shares a laugh with Ronnie Wood, an ambassador for the Tusk Trust, at The Savoy Hotel in London | CREDIT: Chris Jackson/Getty Images for Tusk

The band have recently released their new album, Hackney Diamonds, and it appears the Prince took the opportunity to discuss the new music with Wood.

The musician, 76, said of their discussion: “We were talking about the tour and I said ‘come on, you’ve got to come out on tour’ and we were talking about the new album and everything.

“William said (he would) if we could get Taylor Swift there.”

Wood said he told the Prince that Swift had previously sung with Sir Mick Jagger, and that William replied: “I’m there then.”

He also joked about the age of the Rolling Stones band members, saying: “We had to talk about conservation – with an old band like ours.”

The awards, held at London’s Savoy Hotel, are organised by the Tusk Trust, which the Prince has supported as patron since 2005.

In his keynote speech on Monday evening, William warned that there must be “no letup” in collective efforts to stop the “terrifying” loss of species and habitats across Africa.

He also used his address to issue a reminder about the “disproportionate loss and damage from climate change” that the continent is facing.

“There must be no letup in our collective efforts to stem the terrifying loss of species and habitats we are all bearing witness to,” he said.

On Monday evening, three individuals were awarded for their conservation work by the charity, which has supported habitat protection and anti-poaching intervention in Africa for over thirty years.

Prince William presented the awards on-stage to winners Jealous Mpofu, Dr Ekwoge Abwe and Fanny Minesi.

He hailed the ceremony as “a rare moment to reflect on the significant achievements of our award winners and to recognise the challenges they face each and every day”.

‘Events like this set us on the path to reach global target by 2030’

Prince William told conservationists at The Savoy Hotel in London that the rangers celebrated through the awards are “ecosystem guardians working on behalf of the global community.”

He said that these individuals “shoulder the immense responsibility of stewarding these vast areas of land and water - areas that are vital for the future of life on earth.”

The Prince added that protection of these natural habitats in Africa will “set us on the path to reaching the global target of safeguarding 30 per cent of all land, oceans, and inland waters by 2030”.

Before taking his seat at the reception at The Savoy, the Prince took part in a reception upstairs, where he spoke with Rolling Stones legend Wood and Emma Weymouth, the Marchioness of Bath.

Wood, who attended with his wife Sally, said they also discussed the life-size gorillas they painted for the cause - which have raised over £100,000 in their sales - before showing them to William.

The future king helped to launch Tusk’s annual ceremony in 2013 to recognise the work of those trying to safeguard some of Africa’s most iconic animals and habitats.

As Royal patron, he has been a long-standing supporter of the charity’s efforts for almost two decades.

The awards aim to spotlight the stories of conservation leaders and wildlife rangers across the continent so that their work can be amplified.

Since the inaugural event in 2013, the awards have now recognised 55 conservation leaders from 20 countries.

“It is evenings like this that provide the vital impetus to effect positive change,” William said, adding: “Today’s winners now join an impressive alumni, formed of Africa’s most impactful, passionate and committed conservationists.”

Athene St.John, spokesperson for the Nick Maughan Foundation which sponsors the awards and funds wildlife conservation projects across Africa, said: “The Tusk Awards are synonymous with modern community led wildlife protection.

“For rangers like this evening’s award winner Jealous Mpofu to be presented with such an honour by the Prince of Wales shines a spotlight on some of the most critical biodiversity projects on the planet when it has never been needed more.”

During his keynote speech, William added that the Tusk ceremony also serves as a reminder that “those living in Africa emit just a quarter of the emissions than that of the average global citizen”.

“Yet the African continent is set to incur disproportionate loss and damage from climate change".


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