A Royal Encounter

Australia’s most effective orangutan advocate, Daniel Clarke (17) had a Royal encounter on Wednesday that he will never forget.

Invitation to a Royal EncounterDaniel received an invitation from Her Excellency The Honorable Marie Bashir, Governor of New South Wales, to attend a formal reception for Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge at The Sydney Opera House, at the commencement of their Australian Tour on Wednesday 16th April, 2014.

Daniel, in his student leadership role at Northern Beaches Christian School (NBCS) as Student Ambassador, along with Alec Green, School Captain (NBCS), were nominated by their Principal, Mr Stephen Harris.

A Precious Five Minutes

A royal encounterDaniel was fortunate to spend five minutes talking with the Duchess of Cambridge on The Royal Highnesses first official function here in Australia.  Accompanied by his mother Penny, officially as Daniel’s carer, Daniel presented a toy orangutan for Prince George, along with a copy of the book that he and his brother William wrote about their quest to save the critically endangered orangutan.

The Duchess looked into the eyes of the toy orangutan and, with a big smile, said to Daniel, “George will love playing with this tonight!”.

Royal encounter
“Prince George will love playing with this tonight!”, Her Royal Highness

“The Duchess was really interested in our quest to save the orangutan and was very impressed with our book.  She asked about our trip to Borneo in 2008 and I mentioned we were planning another trip to Borneo this year where we are hoping to write another book”, Daniel said.  The Duchess responded by saying, “I am looking forward to your second book!”, which made Daniel grin from ear to ear and provided a whole new level of inspiration.

The Duchess flipped through several pages of the book, stopping to admire the photo of Daniel in his wheelchair with ‘Darren’ the orangutan (Page 41) as well as the photo of ‘Princess’ and her baby (Page 33).  Daniel mentioned to Her Royal Highness that the orangutan, ‘Princess’ was taught sign language and is still able to communicate her basic needs by this method today.  The Duchess was quite amazed by this.

A Royal encounter
Shaking hands with the Duchess

After spending five minutes with Daniel, on what was a very busy schedule, the Duchess said goodbye, shaking his hand and thanking him very much for the gifts.

Daniel was absolutely thrilled that the Duchess spent time with him and is hopeful that Their Royal Highnesses will be supportive of both his, and his brothers, efforts to save the orangutan going forward.

Hope for the future…

A Royal Encounter - Signing the book for Prince GeorgeIn preparation of their Royal encounter, Daniel’s brother William penned a message in the front of the book to Prince George which read, “To Prince George, We hope that you too will be able to see the Orangutans in the wild as we have, Best Wishes, Daniel and William”.

Conservationists worldwide are saying how the critically endangered orangutan have less than 10 years left in the wild before they reach a point of no return.  Daniel and William are inspiring the next generation to make change and take action to save the jungles of Borneo and Sumatra and in turn saving many other plant and animal species that rely on the same habitat to survive.

Daniel and William hope that, with their passion for wildlife, the Royal couple will help them in their quest and, in some way, help the boys to continue to raise awareness for the critically endangered orangutan.

If you would like to help save the orangutan you can help protect their forest through The Orangutan Project’s Safeguard Program or adopt your own orangutan through the Borneo Orangutan Survival’s Orangutan Adoption Program


The Orangutan Project Logo


Official royal photographs in this blog were taken by Benjamin Townsend www.btphotography.com.au and have been represented here with express permission (Thank you Ben!)

7 thoughts on “A Royal Encounter

  1. Hi Daniel,

    good on you for drawing more awareness to our beautiful Oranutans.I am on warpath against PALM OIL nasty stuff.

    i gave the last of your books away, i need to buy a few more, love your book, send me an email so i can order a few more

    your a star

    with best wishes


  2. Let’s all hope that by your efforts, Dan & Will, that little Prince George can indeed see orangutans in the wild. I’m thrilled that you got to tell The Duchess about the plight of the orangutans, and just maybe you have inspired them to lend a hand with your ongoing conservation plans. I, too, am looking forward to your next book. You two are national treasures.

  3. You have no idea how much this made me smile. You two boys are amazing, and especially with you being in a wheelchair, that makes this moment so much more epic. As I am a person with a disability myself, seeing a post like this almost had me in tears. I’m proud of you 😀

  4. So glad they got to meet the Royals, they deserve it and recognition for all their work.

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