"It's no surprise that you're a fan of crocodiles as well," Prince William told Robert Irwin in a conversation about the Duke of Cambridge's Earthshot Prize

When Robert Irwin interviewed Prince William about his upcoming Earthshot Prize, the Animal Planet star got some high praise from the Duke of Cambridge.

"Honestly, I was a big fan of your dad [Steve Irwin] and I am so sorry," said Prince William, 39, in a conversation shared exclusively with PEOPLE. "It's no surprise that you're a fan of crocodiles as well. The family trait has continued into the next generation I am sure." 

Prince William continued, "He'd be very proud of you Robert. And what you continued. Your passion is only second to his."

During their discussion, Irwin — who is an Earthshot advocate — asked Prince William what inspired him to start the non-profit which will host it's first-ever awards ceremony in London on Sunday October 17.

"I felt that a bit of optimism and hope is what we needed," said Prince William of the global environment prize, which he designed to incentivize change and help repair our planet over the next 10 years. "Showing people that there are solutions. That there is a way forward what was going to be needed, and so that's how the Earthshot Prize sort of spun out from there."

Prince William announces details of inaugural Earthshot Prize Awards
Prince William looking out over London from Alexandra Palace
| Credit: Kensington Palace

Five inaugural winners of the Earthshot Prize will be announced at the most sustainable awards ceremony in BBC history, which will celebrate the ingenuity of all 15 Earthshot Prize finalists and their work to tackle the challenges posed by climate change and the threats to our oceans, air and land.

The upcoming ceremony will also feature performances by Ed SheeranShawn Mendes and Coldplay, whose performance outside Alexandra Palace will be powered by 60 cyclists. 

Terri Irwin is 'Really Proud' Kids Bindi & Robert are Continuing Late Husband Steve Irwin's Work
Credit: Getty Images

Irwin, his mom Terri and sister Bindi have dedicated their lives to conservation and continuing Steve Irwin's legacy through the Australia Zoo and their foundations including Wildlife Warriors.

"I'm really glad that I get to hopefully inspire my generation and my fellow younger Australians to ignite and start that spark of passion," says Robert.

Earthshot Prize: Repairing Our Planet is available now on discovery+; the Earthshot Prize ceremony will be broadcast on BBC One, BBC iPlayer and globally on Discovery's Facebook page on Sunday.