Double anguish for Prince William as he learned his ‘close friend’ Mark Jenkins was killed in Kenya plane crash while processing the fallout from Harry and Meghan’s explosive Netflix series
- Mark Jenkins, a conservationist, was killed in the crash on Thursday in Kenya
- The Prince of Wales paid a personal tribute to his late friend on social media
- Came as the first ‘volume’ of Harry and Meghan’s Netflix series was released
- Mr Jenkins and his son were carrying out an aerial patrol to protect wildlife
Prince William learned of the death of his close friend in a plane crash while he was trying to process the fallout from Harry and Meghan’s explosive Netflix docu-series, the Telegraph has reported.
Pilot Mark Jenkins and his son Peter were flying over Tsavo National Park in Kenya when their plane came down on Thursday.
The Prince of Wales paid tribute to his friend, describing Mr Jenkins as someone who had ‘dedicated his life’ to protecting wildlife in East Africa.
The news of Mr Jenkins’ death would likely have added to William’s anguish as he was already trying to deal with the criticisms levelled against him and Catherine by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in the first ‘volume’ of their documentary series.
Mark Jenkins and his son Peter were both tragically killed in a plane crash on Thursday
Mark Jenkins was a friend of the Prince and Princess of Wales and ‘dedicated his life’ to protecting African wildlife
Speaking in the second episode of the six-part series, Meghan talked about her ‘jarring’ first meeting with William and Kate.
She said: ‘When Will and Kate came over, and I met her for the first time, they came over for dinner, I remember I was in ripped jeans and I was barefoot.
‘I was a hugger. I’ve always been a hugger, I didn’t realise that that is really jarring for a lot of Brits.
‘I guess I started to understand very quickly that the formality on the outside carried through on the inside.
‘There is a forward-facing way of being, and then you close the door and go ‘You can relax now’, but that formality carries over on both sides. And that was surprising to me.’
In his first public comments since Harry’s programme, the Prince of Wales tweeted: ‘Yesterday, I lost a friend, who dedicated his life to protecting wildlife in some of East Africa’s most renowned national parks.
‘Mark Jenkins, and his son Peter, were tragically killed when flying over Tsavo National Park while conducting an aerial patrol.
‘Tonight, I’m thinking about Mark’s wife, family and colleagues who’ve sadly lost a man we all loved and admired. W.’
William is a keen conservationist and last month urged the world not to be distracted by ‘turbulent times’ and lose sight of the importance of protecting the natural world.
In a speech during the Tusk Conservation Awards, William said countries must ‘remain focused on investing in nature and the environment’.
Prince William paid tribute to his friend, describing Mr Jenkins as someone who had ‘dedicated his life’ to protecting wildlife in East Africa
The Prince first met Mr Jenkins in 2001 in Africa. The pair struck up a friendship and had met a number of times since, with Mr Jenkins following the Prince’s work with the Tusk Trust.
The area Mr Jenkins and his son were patrolling had been entered by herders with their animals for pasture, causing conflict between them and Kenyan authorities, a local newspaper reported.
Coast regional police officer Titus Karuri said experts were investigating the accident.
‘Kenya Wildlife Service wishes to express our deepest sympathies and condolences to the families of the deceased,’ he said.
The Frankfurt Zoological Society, which previously employed Mr Jenkins, said the pair were killed during a flight for the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, an NGO.
It added Mr Jenkins was a ‘lifelong conservationist and experienced bush pilot’ who had conservation ‘in his blood’.
A statement on the society’s website said: ‘Passionate, principled, and strong-willed, Mark was never afraid to speak his mind and stand for what he believed in.
‘He was a commanding presence and made an indelible impression wherever he went.
‘Those of us who worked alongside him remember him for his determination, thoughtfulness, his energy, his mischievous smile, and his deep love of wildlife and wild places.
‘We will miss his warmth, his hilarious stories, and his sometimes rather irreverent comments which always made us smile. Mark was a devoted husband and father and leaves behind his wife, and his son.
‘Our deepest condolences go to his family, who tragically lost two beloved family members, to their friends, and to all conservationists who knew Mark and worked with him.
‘Our heartfelt condolences go also to the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, the NGO for which Mark did yesterday’s patrol flight.’
The Tsavo National Park is the largest National Park in Kenya and home to red elephants
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust operates an orphan elephant rescue and wildlife rehabilitation program in Kenya.
The park is almost 22,000 square kilometres and is the largest national park in Kenya – and one of the biggest in the world, according to the official website.
It is made up of two separate parks, Tsavo East National Park and Tsavo West National Park, in the Coast Province of Kenya between Nairobi City and Mombasa.
The website states that the park is home to red elephants and large open spaces.
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