Prince Harry and Prince William opened up about how their father instilled a respect for nature in them for Prince, Son and Heir: Charles at 70

By Stephanie Petit
November 05, 2018 03:44 PM

Prince Charles passed his passion for the environment on to his two sons — starting in a simple way when they were just young boys.

Prince Harry and Prince William opened up about how their father instilled a respect for nature in them for Prince, Son and Heir: Charles at 70, a documentary airing this month on BBC ahead of his 70th birthday. This included “litter picking” trips during vacations, which the brothers grew up thinking were “perfectly normal.”

“He took us litter picking when we were younger, on holiday. We were in Norfolk on school holidays and we went out litter picking with him,” said William, 36, according to The Telegraph. “We thought this is perfectly normal, everyone must do it. We were there with our spikes stabbing the rubbish into black plastic bags.”

“He’s done an amazing job,” added Harry, 34, of his father. “Without telling us what we should be doing or the direction we should go in, he’s just let us learn from the nature of the job, learn from him, learn from mummy.”

Commemorations For The 100th Anniversary Of Vimy Ridge
Credit: Samir Hussein/WireImage

Harry continued, “To the point where I used to get taken the mickey out of at school for picking up rubbish. I didn’t go out consciously looking for it but when you go for walks anywhere and you see something and it stands out, you pick it up. And before you know it someone is like, ‘What are you doing? Where are you going to put that?’ It’s like, wow, I’ve literally done this because I’m programmed to do it because my father did it. We should all be doing it.”

  • Can’t get enough of PEOPLE’s Royals coverage? Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest updates on Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle and more!
Charles, Princes of Wales, Prince William, and Prince Harry play by The River Dee, in Scotland
Prince Charles, Prince Harry and Prince William in 1987
| Credit: Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images)

Charles is also getting his grandchildren, including 5-year-old Prince George, involved in conservation. Speaking from his arboretum at his Scottish home of Birkhall for the documentary, Charles gestures to dozens of trees that were planted when the royal was born five years ago, and says: “This is George’s wood.”

“As I get older, all I really long for is to plant trees,” Charles continues. “I hope it will be quite amusing for George, as they grow up, and he grows up.”

Charles’ wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, also appears in the documentary, adding: “You can’t believe how much it’s grown. It was tiny when it was all planted. The next thing you know, you’re being dwarfed by it.”

Prince Of Wales Visits The Northern Territory - Day 2
Prince Charles plants a tree in Australia in April
| Credit: Mick Tsikas - Pool/Getty

While in Sydney for his royal tour recently, Harry gave a speech at the Australian Geographic Society Awards and referred to speeches given by his father almost 50 years ago that still ring true.

“My father and others have been speaking about the environment for decades – not basing it on fallacy or new-age hypothesis, but rooted in science and facts, and the sobering awareness of our environmental vulnerability,” said Harry. “And while those speeches would sometimes fall on deaf ears, he and others were unrelenting in their commitment to preserve the most valuable resource we have – our planet.”