Malta will let Prince George keep a shark tooth he received as a gift from David Attenborough, its government has confirmed, backtracking on plans to retrieve the artifact from the young royal.
Veteran environmental broadcaster Attenborough found the fossil during a family vacation to Malta in the late 1960s, Kensington Palace said, and gave it to George last week.
The tooth, which once belonged to a megalodon, is believed to be about 23 million years old.
The gift raised questions in the Mediterranean nation, prompting Maltese Culture Minister Jose Herrera to say that the tooth should be in a local museum and promising to “set the ball rolling” on getting it back.
But the government poured cold water on the plan Tuesday.
A ministry spokesperson told CNN: “Further to the initial remarks as reported in the Maltese media, Minister Herrera would like to reiterate that no action was initiated or will be taken on the issue.”
Neither the Royal Family nor representatives for Attenborough commented to CNN on the controversy.
Many countries now ban tourists from removing fossils or shells from their beaches.
Herrera initially told the Times of Malta: “There are some artifacts that are important to Maltese natural heritage and which ended up abroad and deserve to be retrieved.” He did not give details of how he intended to recover the fossil.
“We rightly give a lot of attention to historical and artistic artifacts. However, it is not always the case with our natural history. I am determined to direct a change in this attitude,” the minister added at the time.
CNN’s Amy Cassidy contributed to this report.