Mr Attenborough, 94, presented the tooth to the seven-year-old Prince after a private screening of his new documentary at Kensington Palace. George appeared intrigued by the gift in a photograph released by the Royal Family.
However, Maltese Culture Minister Jose Herrera said he wanted to “kick off the ball” by returning the artifact to his country’s heritage collection.
Mr. Herrera told the Malta weather: Some artefacts are important for Maltese natural heritage and which have ended up abroad and deserve to be recovered, ”said Herrera.
“We rightly pay a lot of attention to historical and artistic artefacts. However, this is not always the case with our natural history. I am determined to lead a change in this attitude. “
The removal or excavation of an “object of geological significance” has been prohibited in Malta since the entry into force of the Cultural Heritage Act in 2002.
However, Maltese MEP Roberta Metsola criticized Mr Herrera’s comments and suggested that the government focus on allegations of corruption that have plagued the country since the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia in 2017.
“This is not satire,” she tweeted. “We lost the plot. Rather than fighting to recover the millions he allowed to be stolen due to corruption, the priority of this Maltese government is now to engage in a battle with a little boy for a shark’s tooth he gave the world’s leading historian. “
Matthew, Mrs. Caruna Galizia’s son, added: “A megalodon tooth costs $ 40 on eBay. Corruption has cost us billions of euros. I ask my government to prioritize and understand what is important. “
Kensington Palace declined to comment.
Additional reports by agencies