Published 13 July 2017

Like many of you here tonight, I remember visiting the Natural History Museum as a child, and being inspired with a love of nature. And now, as a parent myself, I am experiencing the joy all over again with my own children, who adore coming here, and it is not just to see the T-Rex mind you.

Who could fail to be inspired standing here in this wonderful hall. It is so fitting to see the ocean now taking centre stage, with many other marine specimens as star attractions in this splendid Hintze Hall.

As we are increasingly learning, marine conservation is a global challenge, for all nations and all people.

I, personally, have always been in awe of the sea.  As someone who has been fortunate to experience scuba diving, something I love doing, and seeing the incredible marine life, I have come to care deeply about life under our waters and the conservation of our oceans.

Sir David Attenborough has famously talked about the fact that people will not protect what they don’t first care about, and will not care about what they have never experienced. This idea lies at the heart of this new Hintze Hall design.  As I stand here tonight, I have every confidence that this spectacular display will go a long way not only inspire a new generation but it will also encourage us all to think about and to care for our marine life.

Our Blue Whale, Hope, at the heart of the museum will help the millions of visitors that come here each year, experience the wonders of our oceans.

So, as Patron of the Natural History Museum it gives me great pleasure to declare the new Hintze Hall open.

I now have the honour of introducing a great friend of this Museum, and somebody who has perhaps done more than anybody else on the planet to inspire a love of nature - Sir David Attenborough.