Sir David Attenborough has been awarded the Freedom of the Borough - the highest honour Richmond can bestow.

Leader of Richmond Council Lord True announced the rare honour, which recognises eminent services of local people to their borough, at a council meeting on Tuesday, January 21.

Sir David has lived in Richmond for more than 65 years and, although he has travelled the world during his long career, said Richmond was his favourite place on Earth.

Lord True said: “Sir David is a man who is enormously respected and liked both across this nation and across other shores.

“He’s given a lifetime of service to people in the borough and I think it’s appropriate that this offer is made.”

Lord True said a special council meeting would be held on March 27, which Sir David will attend to accord the honour.

He said: “I know Sir David has very graciously and happily accepted this honour. I genuinely think the council and the community would be united around this.”

The 87-year-old world-renowned broadcaster and naturalist has brought natural history to the world with programmes including Life on Earth and The Living Planet over the past 25 years.

Leader of the opposition Councillor Stephen Knight paid tribute to Sir David’s work in the borough, where he is patron of Richmond Environment Trust, the Thames Landscape Strategy and Friends of Richmond Park.

He said: “David Attenborough’s contribution to national and international life is so great that it is almost an honour for us.

“This is a man who everyone has grown up with. His voice of knowledge about the natural world has made him one of the nation’s favourite broadcasters.

“In a local context he has been a great support of the Richmond Environment Trust over many years.

“It is a great pleasure to support, warmly support, that he is given this honour.”

The award of Freedom of the Borough dates back to the middle ages when Freemen had commercial privileges and a route into a position of power in a town or city.

Today the honour does not convey any legal rights or responsibilities other than a ceremonial role.