TT Epaper
The Telegraph
 
IN TODAY'S PAPER
WEEKLY FEATURES
CITIES AND REGIONS
ARCHIVES
Since 1st March, 1999
 
THE TELEGRAPH
 
 
CIMA Gallary

Kate gets a Charlie’s Angels fringe

Nov. 28: The Duchess of Cambridge showed off a new Charlie’s Angels inspired look as she returned to a favourite London attraction at the Natural History Museum.

The duchess, wearing a Mulberry dress with peace symbols on it, attracted plenty of attention as she debuted a new 1970s inspired haircut.

She showed off a new fringe, leading to comparisons with Kate Jackson, the Charlie’s Angels actress.

Kate was shown around the treasures gallery yesterday by the museum’s director Dr Michael Dixon and spoke to senior scientists, donors and politicians including culture secretary Maria Miller.

Natural history film-maker Sir David Attenborough could not attend the reception because he was recovering from knee surgery.

In her address to the 360 guests at the reception the duchess said she would like to send her very best wishes to David Attenborough.

“It is a great shame that he cannot be here this evening,” she said. “It is a huge honour to be here tonight. The Natural History Museum has a very special place in the heart of this nation.

“William and I are just two of millions of people who have passed through these doors, and marvelled at the spectacular wonders of the natural world, housed in this beautiful gallery.”

As the duchess opened the Natural History Museum’s new treasures gallery, a stuffed gorrilla proved to be the star attraction. The ape, Guy, is among 22 exhibits singled out as highlights of the museum’s 70 million-strong collection of specimens, alongside a 1,000-year-old dodo skeleton and and a first edition of Charles Darwin’s On The Origin of Species.

It was in 1947 that the year-old western lowland gorilla, Guy, first arrived at London Zoo, where staff took note of the date — November 5 — and named their new resident after Guy Fawkes.

He quickly became the most popular animal at the zoo, attracting huge crowds who marvelled at his size. He weighed 240kg, with a 9 foot arm span and a 36 inches neck but was regarded as a gentle giant — it was said that when sparrows flew into his cage, he examined them in the palm of his hand before setting them free.

Guy died of a heart attack in 1978 after surgery for a tooth extraction, and his body was donated to the Natural History Museum.

His inclusion in the new treasures gallery is a symbol of how far British attitudes to the natural world have come in little more than half a century. Guy was snatched from the jungle in Cameroon and transported to Britain via Paris, terrified and clutching a tin hot water bottle.

Gorilla behaviour was little understood in the 1950s and 1960s and zookeepers failed to realise that they were social creatures who needed the company of fellow apes. Guy cut a lonely figure until 1969, when a female gorilla was introduced to his enclosure. They failed to mate. Visitors were allowed to feed sweet treats to the animals — causing the tooth decay that led to Guy’s death.

Desmond Morris was curator of mammals at London Zoo from 1959-66 and said of his former charge: “His was a real-life version of the tragic King Kong story — a giant ape brought low by human interference, condemned to live out his life in solitary confinement thanks to the ignorance of zoo officials.”

Seeing the animal on display, he remarked after Guy’s death, “should act, not only as a reminder of how impressive a great ape can be, but also of the desperate need to avoid the zoo mistakes of the past”.

 
 
" "