The Duke of Edinburgh met local celebrity Jonathan during an official visit to British overseas territory St. Helena
Prince Edward just spent time with a living legend — Jonathan, a 192-year-old tortoise.
During an official visit to tropical British overseas territory St. Helena on Tuesday, the Duke of Edinburgh, 59, was photographed with the tortoise at Plantation House, the official residence of the governor of St. Helena.
King Charles’ youngest brother is the most recent member of the royal family to meet the 192-year-old tortoise. Edward joins the likes of his late parents, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, his grandparents, King George VI and the Queen Mother, and his late aunt, Princess Margaret.
Queen Elizabeth first met the animal in 1947. The late Queen was joined by her sister and parents at the time. Shortly after, in 1957, her husband, Prince Philip, was photographed meeting the tortoise — who was 126 years old at the time.
Edward is the first member of the royal family to visit St. Helena since his sister Princess Anne, who toured the island in 2002.
The recent introduction between Edward and the animal follows the Duke of Edinburgh’s two-day trip to South Africa, where he met with animal conservation groups in Pretoria.
During his visit, Edward visited Pretoria Garden, an urban space home to over 220 bird species, along with attending a President’s Award Reception, which recognizing winners of the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award.
His visit to St. Helena, which wraps up on Friday, will also see the Duke meet with members of the community and celebrate the island’s biodiversity and culture.
However, his first stop on the island was to meet the famed tortoise.
In a post shared on X, formerly known as Twitter, Tuesday, the St. Helena Government said Jonathan is the "oldest land animal in the world," and has been living on the island for 142 years.
The Seychelles giant tortoise is believed to be the oldest living land animal in the world, per the Smithsonian Magazine. He is believed to have been born in 1832 and was appointed a Dec. 4 birthday in 2022 by St. Helena Governor Nigel Phillips.
Jonathan’s age is estimated based on the idea that he was fully mature when he was taken to the island after being gifted to St. Helena from the Seychelles around 1882.
According to Smithsonian, the animal, who appears on some of the island’s currency, has exceeded the species’ average life expectancy by more than 40 years — the Seychelles giant tortoise typically lives to 150 years. Jonathan's age mean he has lived through 31 St. Helena governors and 40 U.S. presidents.
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Edward’s overseas tour comes amid King Charles' treatment for an enlarged prostate this week. On Friday, the 75-year-old was photographed for the first time since his surgery was announced, riding in the backseat of a car en route to the royal family's Sandringham estate in Norfolk with Queen Camilla.
Kate Middleton is also recovering from abdominal surgery. In a statement shared by Kensington Palace on Jan 17, they said the Princess of Wales' surgery was "successful" and she is expected to remain in the hospital for 10 to 14 days,
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