The Duke of Cambridge has praised Ronnie Wood’s skills with a brush after he joined other artists in decorating rhino sculptures in aid of conservation.
William told The Rolling Stones guitarist “that’s amazing, I love it” when shown a picture of the musician’s contribution to the Tusk Rhino Trail, a London wide art installation celebrating the endangered animal.
In Kensington Palace’s private gardens, some of the 21 rhinos featured around the capital were on display – including one decorated by Axel Scheffler, illustrator of the children’s book The Gruffalo, who stood by his piece along with Julia Donaldson, author of the popular story.
The second-in-line to the throne – now a father of three – confessed to the pair that their book was a “big hit in our house”.
Wood said the duke, who is rumoured to be a bass guitar player, said to him: “‘I knew you did music, I didn’t know you could turn your hand to this’, and I said ‘no I’m blessed’.”
His decorated rhino – located in London’s Carnaby Street – features the African savanna and incorporates the flags of the countries where the rhino roams.
There are around 29,000 black and white rhinos left in the wild, but last year three animals a day were being killed by poachers.
The musician is the longest serving patron of the Africa-based Wildlife conservation charity Tusk, which has organised the Tusk Rhino Trail, notching up almost 30 years.
The guitarist added: “Ever since I used to go on safari in Africa, I was very moved to protect the elephant and the rhino. The rhino is always under terrible threat, but some of them are at least surviving nicely now.”
William, who is Tusk’s royal patron, thanked the acclaimed rocker and the other artists present for their contributions to the project, which will see all the rhinos auctioned in aid of the charity.
“His gratitude is marvellous, because he thanked me even though my rhino is not here today, he thanked me for turning out and supporting the other artists,” Wood added.
He was joined by wife Sally Humphreys who joked about how their two-year-old twin daughters Alice and Gracie had drawn on the rhino, before their dad began painting, and later they got a phone call to alert them “someone’s graffitied Ronnie’s rhino”.
The guitarist said: “The twins, they made the first mark on it. I just left it shining through a little bit opaquely – very sweet, they put their little stamp on it.”