Sir David Attenborough and Queen Elizabeth were born within three weeks of each other in 1926. And to many in Britain, Attenborough enjoys almost royal status. Asked in a 2017 poll who should appear on the next £20 note, 40% of Britons chose the presenter — with Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, the runner-up with 7%. In television series such as Life on Earth and The Blue Planet, Attenborough has guided generations of viewers through the wonders of the natural world. His style is inimitable — his eyes wide in delight, his arms spread, his voice lowering to a whisper as he introduces viewers to some marvel, whether it is gorillas in Rwanda or birds of paradise in New Guinea. The Attenborough fan club is international. On his 89th birthday he was invited to the White House, to be interviewed on camera by former president Barack Obama. Now 92, he is still travelling, working and campaigning. In December, he addressed the UN climate change conference in Poland. In the preceding m...

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