Sir David Attenborough has spoken of the "great privilege" of his bond with Queen Elizabeth II, as he paid tribute to Britain's longest-reigning monarch following her sad death yesterday aged 96.
The broadcaster gave an interview to ITV News in which he spoke about the pair's long-lasting friendship, reserving special praise for her sense of humour.
"If there was something funny she laughed in a genuine way... she wasn’t putting it on and that made it very easy," he said.
"She was an expert at getting people to relax. When you met her you were well aware that you were in the presence of someone who was extremely important to our society and yet she made it seem that you were meeting another human being with exactly the same conditions that all human beings have."
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The naturalist also explained that the Queen was "incomparably professional" whenever they worked together and said he was "delighted" to have had her in his life.
Attenborough was born just a few weeks after the Queen in 1926, and the two crossed paths often during his long broadcasting career.
He produced the Queen's annual Christmas address for five years between 1986 and 1991 and delivered a reading at a service celebrating her 90th birthday in 2016.
Meanwhile, he received a knighthood from Her Majesty in 1985 and was also appointed a Knight Grand Cross in her Birthday Honours list in 2020.
Tributes have been flooding in from the world of entertainment since the news of the Queen's passing was announced by Buckingham Palace yesterday, with Sir Elton John, Sir Paul McCartney, David Beckham and Stephen Fry among those sharing emotional messages.
"She was an inspiring presence to be around and led the country through some of our greatest and darkest moments with grace, decency, and a genuine caring warmth," wrote John.
Meanwhile, McCartney wrote, "God bless Queen Elizabeth II. May she rest in peace. Long live The King."
A statement was issued by Buckingham Palace on 8th September 2022 announcing the Queen's passing. It read: "The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon. The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow."
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