Prince Charles and the monkey minder: Royal given special guard on rainforest trip

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales undertakes a ‘tree top walk’ via a suspension bridge at the MacRitchie Reservoir Park CREDIT: YUI MOK-POOL/GETTY IMAGES

As heir to the throne, he has spent his entire life under the watchful eye of protection officers.

Rarely, though, would the Prince of Wales have enjoyed quite such specialised security as he did today: from a veteran “monkey guard”.

The Prince, who visited a spectacular treetop walkway over a rainforest in Singapore, was kept safe from marauding primates by a monkey minder wielding a long stick to keep the most mischievous at bay.

The careful attention of the ranger, who works to keep long-tailed macaques away from the visitors’ bags they like to search for food, ensure the Prince enjoyed an uninterrupted walk across an 80-foot-high metal walkway above the forest.

The Prince, who declared the experience “marvellous”, later said he hoped the work of the rangers would convince the public to care about the environment before it was too late to save it.

The visit to the MacRitchie Reservoir Park saw the Prince speak of his fears that the wide public were not appreciating the world’s natural resources “before it’s all gone, before it’s too late”.


The Prince being shown round the MacRitchie Reservoir Park CREDIT: CHRIS JACKSON/GETTY IMAGES

“That’s why this is of such great importance,” he added. “You do very well in Singapore. I hope you get the message across.

“I’m so grateful to you, it’s marvellous.”

William Ng, who has worked as a ranger for 20 years, said he had been along the walkway with a long stick prior to the Prince’s arrival to deter monkeys from attempting to land on him.

“There were two nuisance ones hanging round so we had to chase them,” he said. “They try to steal things from the public so we need to make sure they don’t come down to the Prince.”

The Prince inspects the guard of honour, accompanied by Singapore President, Halimah Yacob (back) during the welcome ceremony at the Istana CREDIT: SUHAIMI ABDULLAH/GETTY IMAGES

Asked if he felt nervous about his role, he added: “We were successful. I’ve been doing this job for 20 years so the wildlife is just part and parcel.

“We don’t want them [monkeys] to disturb the public because they pose a danger. We need to stop the public feeding them and advise them to keep away.

“There’s a nice view of them from a distance, and that is definitely safer.”

Wearing a cream suit, the Prince was also introduced to a small bronzeback snake, asking whether it was poisonous before moving closer to admire it.

And it was not just the wildlife which caused a stir.

Four students were delighted by a surprise encounter of their own, after being instructed to wait for a mystery guests before embarking on the narrow walkway, and realising it was the Prince.

“I’m so sorry, have I kept you waiting?” the Prince asked when he saw them at the foot of the walkway. “I’ll be quick, I promise.”

He later stopped for the photograph with the quartet, asking them about their visit to Singapore and expertise on local wildlife.

Later, the Prince will attend a glitzy reception and dinner at the Presidential Palace with his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall.

Source: Prince Charles and the monkey minder: Royal given special guard on rainforest trip

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