Queen Elizabeth II shares some of her responsibilities with the younger members of the British royal family, which increased after her husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, retired from public duties three years ago.

Since the British monarch will have to reduce her public royal engagements as she is more at threat from novel coronavirus at the age of 94, she has handed over some of her responsibilities to grandson Prince William, future heir to the throne.

Kensington Palace, the official residence of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duke and the Duchess of Cambridge, confirmed on Monday that the Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh have transferred two new environmental patronages to William, reports Town&Country magazine.

The first patronage is Fauna & Flora International (FFI), which self-identifies as the "world's oldest international wildlife conservation organisation" and works to preserve biodiversity. The queen had been the royal patron of the organisation for nearly 70 years, since the start of her reign.

Mark Rose, Chief Executive Officer of FFI, said about the decision: "Her Majesty has provided stalwart support to FFI and we are extremely grateful for the sterling support and encouragement that she has provided throughout the past seven decades. We look forward to building on her legacy and taking the relationship forward with her grandson."

"The Duke of Cambridge is a wonderful ambassador for conservation and there is a great deal of synergy between his own and FFI's vision for the future of the planet," Rose added.

William has received his second new patronage from his grandfather Prince Philip. The British Trust for Ornithology, an organisation that aims to empower communities to protect local bird species and their natural habitats, had been patronage of Prince Philip for more than 30 years.

To mark the occasion, Buckingham Palace released two rarely-seen images of Prince Philip from a trip to the southern Pacific Ocean between New Zealand and the Antarctic from 1956 to 1957 that inspired his own commitment to preserving wildlife and habitats. The 99-year-old was the first member of the British royal family to cross the Antarctic Circle.

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Today The Duke of Edinburgh has been succeeded by The Duke of Cambridge as Patron of @btobirds. The Duke of Edinburgh has been Patron for over thirty years, and has been fascinated by ornithology - the study of birds - for over six decades. The Duke’s interest in ornithology began as HRH travelled across the Southern Pacific Ocean in 1956. HRH would identify and photograph the native seabirds, including the Adelie Penguins in Antarctica 🐧❄️ During The Duke’s trip, HRH became the first member of the Royal Family to cross the Antarctic Circle, which means he is entitled to join “The Order of the Red Nose”. Image 1: The Duke of Edinburgh with Adelie Penguins at the Penguin Rookery Base, near Adelaide Island, Antarctica, in 1957 Image 2: A photograph taken by The Duke of Edinburgh of the Adelie penguins in 1957 Image 3: A certificate designed by The Duke of Edinburgh and the artist Edward Seago to mark the Royal Yacht Britannia’s crossing of the Antarctic Circle Image 4: The Duke of Edinburgh in 1963 with the celebrated British ornithologist Sir Peter Scott, and Minnie, a Bronze Winged Duck 🦆

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Dr. Andy Clements, the Chief Executive of BTO, said about their new patron: "I am delighted that The Duke of Cambridge has become our Patron, following on from his grandfather who worked so tirelessly on our behalf. We hope that we will be able to support The Duke's strong interest in protecting the environment through our evidence-based work around environmental issues in the UK."

William had also joined his grandmother for her first royal engagement since her return to public duties following quarantine amid coronavirus pandemic. The duo visited the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) near Salisbury to meet scientists providing vital support for those dealing with the pandemic.

Meanwhile, in another related development, the queen took a decision to strip an ex-Royal Navy officer of his MBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) status that was awarded to him by William in 2015 for services to European maritime strategy.

Iain Shepherd, of Bognor Regis, West Sussex was sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court to three years and eight months in prison in July 2019, for faking his wife's signature to set up a secret bank account to siphon £58,895 from the inheritance fund of his stepson Joshua Powell. The queen recently directed that Regis's MBE status should be cancelled and anulled and he should repay £19,497 awarded by the monarchy.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince William
The 94-year-old monarch was accompanied by her grandson Prince William on the visit to the Porton Down complex in southwest England. Photo: POOL / Ben STANSALL

Regis's former wife Mary told The Portsmouth News about the monarch's decision: "I'm absolutely delighted his MBE has been taken away. He should never have been awarded it because he was an undeclared bankrupt, a liar, and a cheat."