PRINCE William will not attend this year’s BAFTAs in a blow to organisers of the prestigious awards. The Duke of Cambridge, 39, declined an invitation to attend the show at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Sunday due to “diary constraints”. The move reportedly left bosses “very disappointed” that the president of the academy would not be in attendance.
A pre-recorded message from the Duke will be played on the night instead. A source told The Mirror: “Prince William is always a huge draw, not least as it’s the first year back in person after the pandemic. “But BAFTA were told that diary constraints precluded him from attending in person this year. It’s such a shame and everyone is very disappointed.”
Prince William was to deliver a video speech at last year’s virtual ceremony, which praised the film industry’s resilience amid Covid. He was also scheduled to lead a pre-recorded conversation. However, he pulled out following the death of his grandfather Prince Philip. The TV source added: “That was, of course, totally understandable. But everyone expected him to attend this year and the fact he is not, is most unfortunate.
“The purpose of the academy’s annual awards is “to recognise, honour and reward individuals for outstanding achievement in feature films released in the UK within the awards year”. The Duke of Cambridge has been President of BAFTA since February 2010, a post previously held by both his grandfather Prince Philip and his aunt Princess Anne.
BAFTA has a long history of royal presidents, as all but one —director Richard Attenborough — has been a member of the Royal Family.The Duke of Edinburgh was the organisation’s first president in 1959, while the Princess Royal was in post between 1972 and 2001.
In reference to this year’s ceremony, a BAFTA spokesman said: “We’re delighted that BAFTA president The Duke of Cambridge will be participating in the EE BAFTA Film Awards via a pre-recorded video message.”The spokesperson confirmed that he won’t physically be in attendance, commenting: “Due to diary constraints he is not able to attend in person this year.”
Prince William last attended the awards ceremony in person in 2020. He and his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, were the guests of honour at the 73rd annual awards at the Royal Albert Hall. Over the course of his presidency, William has generously offered his time to help BAFTA raise awareness of their initiatives.
In late January, BAFTA launched a career development bursary fund backed by the prince.At the time of kicking off the awards body’s new fund, the Duke of Cambridge attended BAFTA’s redeveloped London offices. During his visit, William met with previous recipients of development bursaries to discuss barriers to progression.
The fund aims to support up-and-coming film, TV and games professionals who, due to financial reasons, would otherwise not be able to pursue careers in the screen industries.
The Duke said at the time: “I am hugely proud of BAFTA’s ongoing commitment to ensuring that young talent from all walks of life are given every possible opportunity to build and develop successful careers in the film, games and television industries.”