David Attenborough says ‘we are intruders’
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Legendary broadcaster Sir David Attenborough turns 95 today. As fans flock to wish him a Happy Birthday, Express.co.uk takes a look back on his family life and career. The Planet Earth star was married to Jane Elizabeth Ebsworth Oriel from 1950, up until her death in 1997.
The latter died after suffering from a brain haemorrhage aged 70.
David had been away working overseas at the time she fell ill, but rushed back to the UK to be by her side.
In his book Life on Air, the father-of-two discussed his final moments with his spouse.
David recalled how he was advised to hold onto his wife’s hand as she laid in a coma.
The broadcaster said Jane gave his hand “a squeeze” before her final breath.
“The focus of my life, the anchor had gone… now I was lost,” he wrote.
The couple have two children together; son Robert and daughter Susan.
In 2009, he told Express.co.uk how he dealt with his grief.
He said: “It was the most fantastic luck that I was able to work.
“If my life had gone a different way – say I had gone into the oil business, which I once considered doing – I would have been out at 60.”
But, he added he would like to have “people around” him instead of living alone.
“The thing is, when you go around the house, you know that no matter how many doors you open there is not going to be anybody there, and that’s a pity.”
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David first joined the BBC in 1952 after a two-year stint in the Royal Navy.
He has since gone on to write and present in conjunction with the BBC Natural History Unit and other shows such as The Blue Planet and Planet Earth.
The broadcaster previously expressed his regret over missing out on some family time due to his work schedule.
In 2017, he told documentary maker Louis Theroux: “If I do have regrets, it is that when my children were the same age as your children.
“I was away for three months at a time.”
He added: “If you have a child of six or eight and you miss three months of his or her life, it’s irreplaceable; you miss something.”
David’s son Robert is believed to be a senior lecturer in Biological anthropology at the Australian National University in Canberra.
His daughter is reportedly a former primary school headmistress.
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