Animal Ball at Lancaster House

King Charles III and Queen Camilla attended the Animal Ball at Lancaster House in London to the 20th anniversary of wildlife conservation charity Elephant Family, which was established by the Queen’s late brother Mark Shand in 2003. This year’s annual Animal Ball was a celebration of indigenous communities, hosted by the Elephant Family in partnership with the British Asian Trust.

On arrival in the garden at Lancaster House, the King and Queen were met by Ruth Ganesh, co-founder of the Elephant Family, and Richard Hawkes, Chief Executive of the British Asian Trust, and viewed the life-size elephant sculptures made from Lantana, which were part of the charity’s 2021 Co-Existence exhibition across the Royal Parks, some of which are now on display at Highgrove and Raymill.

The King and Queen presented two Elephant Family awards; the Mark Shand Award given to members of the Adivasi tribal community from the Nilgiri Mountains and the Tara Award to documentary-maker, Kartiki Gonsalves,.

‘I think it’s over 35 years ago now that I tried to see if I could set up a project to collate as much of the indigenous knowledge and wisdom as possible throughout the world. But in those days, nobody wanted to know.

But now if I may say so, it is absolutely critical that we turn to all that indigenous knowledge and wisdom as the only way really of restoring the balance and harmony that is so badly needed in this world if we are going to save the planet.

So it’s up to all of us to pay attention to that knowledge and that wisdom before it’s too late. Both my wife and I are so very proud to be able to present both these awards particularly, if I may say so, it transpires that today is actually Mark Shand’s birthday. And he would have been so thrilled to know that Elephant Family had managed to get its 20th anniversary.


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