In the ITV special The Queen’s Green Planet, Jolie visits Namibia with her six kids to highlight forest conservation in Africa.
“For us to come here and say to the children, ‘This is why it’s important to plant a tree,’ that’s the biggest message I can teach my kids, and it’s something that they’ve certainly learned from Her Majesty and her message,” the Oscar winner, 42, explains in The Queen’s Green Planet, which airs in the U.K. on April 16. The two women met in 2014, when Jolie received an honorary damehood from Queen Elizabeth, 91, at Buckingham Palace for services to U.K. foreign policy and her campaign to end sexual violence in war zones.
Speaking in the new documentary, Jolie says of her kids, “They ask me, ‘Why is it so important to her?’ You know when you sit up at night in a tent with your kids and they say, ‘Why does the Queen of England care about planting trees in Africa?’ ”
“What it comes down to is you say to the kids, ‘You know really, you don’t know her, you can’t understand all that it means to be a queen and all that. But you try to say, ‘You know she’s just this really lovely lady who really cares about people around the world, and she really cares about the future, and she wants your grandkids and her grandkids to be able to be running around, enjoying nature and other cultures, and the importance of other cultures.’ ”
“She thinks that really matters and I agree with her.”
The documentary highlights the environmental project The Queen’s Canopy, which aims to unite all the countries of the Commonwealth in conservation efforts. And it provides a rare insight into the Queen, who chats one-on-one with veteran broadcaster (and fellow 91-year-old!) Sir David Attenborough.
As Jolie she watches her kids “trying their best to dig a hole,” she says in the film, “I bet they’re fighting over the biggest shovel. It says it all when you see the local tribe, the bushmen come in and their reaction to it. The trees affect the environment, the soil, the shade, the natural resources, the animals, the ecosystem — but also how it affects the local cultures. They live very dependent on every single plant and they use every single plant, and when certain trees, certain species disappear, that affects an entire culture and their way of life and they start to die out.”