The couple, both 31, were the guests of honor at the U.K. premiere of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.
Kate, in a favorite white Roland Mouret gown that she previously wore to a private dinner in May 2012, and William, in his traditional tuxedo, lit up the chilly West End evening.
The outing comes after a heady 10 days for the two, during which William sung alongside Taylor Swift at a charity gala and Kate led the applause for young athletes at an annual celebration held by SportsAid, one of her patronages.
Thursday night’s royal film premiere saw them mingling with actors Idris Elba, who plays the revered former South African president, who died Wednesday, and Naomie Harris, who stars as his ex-wife Winnie.
Asked about having William and Kate along as special guests, Elba told reporters, “Tonight is extra special because this is my country, and when the royals come out to watch a film, it’s a big deal. I feel very proud that it’s my film, really proud.”
Elba also talked about his transformation into the iconic figure, saying that he “worked really hard to pull in all the elements, from the sound of [Mandela's] voice to the way he walks. (He’s certainly gotten some major approval: One of Mandela’s daughters, Zindzi, was at the premiere and said that her father jokes that he thought Elba was him.)
For her part, Harris, wearing one of Kate’s favorite labels, Alexander McQueen, told PEOPLE that it was “fantastic for us” to have the royals at the premiere. “It’s such a huge honor. We feel really proud to have them here.”
Harris has actually met William several times at polo games, she revealed. “He’s lovely. He’s very down to earth and charming.”
Anticipating meeting Kate, Harris added, “I hear she’s just as down to earth and super charming as well.”
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06:42 EST, 8 December 2013
06:44 EST, 8 December 2013
I’ve rarely been as happy to reach a
destination as I was Skoki Lodge in Alberta, deep
in the snowy Canadian wilderness.
It wasn’t a place I’d always dreamed of
visiting. I’d never heard of it until Prince William and Kate skulked off to the
secluded Banff National Park hideaway on their Canadian tour in 2011.
didn’t offer unadulterated luxury – built in 1931, there’s still no running
water, electricity, baths, flushing toilets, internet, mobile reception or TV.
It wasn’t even that it boasted heart-stopping scenery and the most magical
canvas of stars…no, it was the sheer relief of getting there while still
breathing – albeit more heavily than usual.
Icy trek: Bridget with guide Alan on their five-hour trek through the Alberta wilderness
Our brave posse had plodded
for five long hours on cross-country skis through mountain valleys and across a
frozen lake, as well as over the deceptively high Deception Pass, to locate the
cluster of cabins miles from anywhere.
Royal hoodies: William and Kate on their visit in 2011
What made our arrival all the
sweeter was that this was our second attempt. Two days before, we’d been
thwarted halfway by galeforce gusts, white-out conditions and our Bambi-on-ice
inability to master cross-country skis.
The owner of Skoki, Charlie Locke, who also guided the Royal couple,
seemed bemused that mere ‘pups’ (as he called even me) couldn’t breeze along the
seven-mile polemarked trail as effortlessly as he could. Sadly, half of our
party couldn’t face doing the ‘Skoki Cokey‘ again,
seduced instead by Lake Louise’s downhill skiing delights.
Yet what a
difference a fairweather day makes. Aching muscles were soon forgotten by the
wonder of this fairytale scene straight from Narnia, snow glittering on
pinescented trails, surrounding the most spectacular peaks I’d ever seen. Nips
of rum and chilli chocolate also helped to lift spirits.
Heaving our way
up steep inclines didn’t even seem so bad, though going downhill proved more
difficult. Removing the ‘skins’ or treads from our skis made negotiating the
slippery slopes that bit trickier – though funnier – especially when others
landed head-first in drifts…
The Duke and Duchess escaped all such
humiliation, being flown in by helicopter. Normally, only snowmobiles drop off
essential supplies – which don’t include lodge guests – no matter how much you
beg. They also frown on getting there by horse or dog sled, though snow shoes
are allowed if you want an even longer trek.
Despite a slowpaced slog,
where the only thoughts keeping me going were of home-cooked food and the
calories I was burning, the experience was worth the effort.
Thirties gem: The Skoki lodge in Alberta where Bridget bedded down during her adventure
candle-lit dinner was extra-special, warmed with the convivial atmosphere of
eclectic guests around a wood-burning stove, sharing stories, singing and
strumming guitars. Yet I still felt aggrieved our future monarchs didn’t have to
stagger out of bunks in the early hours, risking becoming cougar or grizzly bear
fodder, to use the communal drop loos. Instead, an en suite bathroom was built
specially for them.
I doubt they learned the true story behind their
on-tap facilities. The helicopter bearing their Portaloo had to make its own
‘royal flush’. After one of the ropes snapped, the pilot ditched his precious
cargo and it smashed on rocks.
Manager Leo Mitzel had just three days to
build a replacement throne room. He admits Skoki’s isolation may not suit everyone, yet following
in the footsteps (or flight path) of the Royals undoubtedly makes a memorable
journey – even if you only fully appreciate it once it’s over.
Travel facts: Plan your own Skoki adventure
A Skoki Lodge Two-Day Explorer from Lake
Louise costs from £149pp including qualified guide, equipment hire and half
board. Seven nights at Lake Louise cost from £964pp including return flights
with British Airways from Heathrow to Calgary and transfers.
Free equipment hire
is on offer for holidays booked before mid-December 2013.
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08 DECEMBER 2013
Builders have spent weeks removing the old tiles on the roof of Anmer Hall, the royal couple’s second home, to replace them with bright brick-red slates.
Local residents who live close to the ten-bedroom Georgian mansion, however, are said to have expressed concern about the period property’s new appearance.
“The building dates back to the early 1800s but it looks more like a Barratt home now,” said one disgruntled neighbour. “It’s not an eyesore but it does look completely different.”
Anmer Hall is just one of the magnificent buildings that form part of the Queen’s 20,000-acre Sandringham estate, and Her Majesty is expected to be footing the bill for the red roof and other reworks.
The renovations on William and Kate’s country escape started in September, just two months after Prince George was born, to provide greater security and privacy for the young family.
A garden room will be built onto the existing kitchen at the side of the house, with a pergola added over a patio next to it to give the royal couple added privacy.
A wood store on the grounds is being converted into a sitting room and lavatory, perhaps for William and Kate’s police protection officers, while two berths in a four-block garage will be turned into an “equipment room”.
Extra trees will also be planted around the house to screen it from view, and a new gate across what is currently a public road will be built, for use by the royal couple only.
Prince George will have plenty of green space to enjoy as he grows up in the grounds of Anmer Hall, which is located just two miles east of Sandringham House, where the royal family gather every Christmas.
The hall’s former tenant of 13 years, company director James Everett and his family, moved out of the property shortly after the summer.
William and Kate will continue to use their newly refurbished home in Kensington Palace, Apartment 1A, as their main residence. The 21-room property includes staff quarters, a nursery, extensive living quarters, entertaining space and a walled garden.
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Black Sheep Syndication
Prince William and Kate Middleton attended the London premiere of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom on Thursday evening at the Odeon Leicester Square Cinema, and Prince George’s parents looked amazing when they posed for pictures on the red carpet.
Middleton wore a longsleeve Roland Mouret gown, and this isn’t the first time we’ve seen her in this stunning dress — she wore it to a dinner at Claridges in 2012. Not only is she beautiful and down to earth, but we love that she’s on the more practical side too…
Prince William reacted to the news of Mandela’s passing yesterday, and he told reporters, “It’s extremely sad and tragic news, we’re just reminded what an extraordinary and inspiring man Nelson Mandela was. Our thoughts and prayers are with him, and with his family right now.”
Though the film opened in the United States on Nov. 29, actor Idris Elba and Mandela’s youngest daughters, Zindzi and Zenani Mandela, joined Britain’s Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on Thursday for its royal film performance at Odeon Leicester Square in London to raise funds for the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund.
The anti-apartheid champion died at his home in South Africa on Thursday after a period of declining health. He was 95.
Mandela’s life and work gave rise to several films, the latest being “Long Walk to Freedom,” a biopic focusing on his lengthy incarceration and efforts to eradicate apartheid. The Weinstein Co. film is based on Mandela’s 1994 autobiography and stars Elba as Mandela.
The event reportedly began before Mandela’s daughters had been informed of his death, according to the Daily Mail.
After the women learned of his death, they left the screening but asked that it continue anyway, a spokesman told the paper.
“His two youngest daughters were told of their father’s death during the screening and immediately left the cinema,” said a statement from the Nelson Mandela Foundation.
William and Kate were discreetly notified of Mandela’s passing by an aide during the screening.
“It was extraordinary because William and Catherine were at the film,” Queen Elizabeth II said at Parliament when she visited a plaque commemorating Mandela’s 1996 visit to the U.K. “They were clapping like mad and somebody came on and said, ‘Can you just listen please, we have just heard he has died.’ It is amazing isn’t it. During the first night of his film.”
The duke and duchess were described as “ashen-faced” after learning the news. The two had jubilantly walked the red carpet prior to the screening, and Catherine spoke with Elba and Naomie Harris, who plays Mandela’s wife Winnie, on the red carpet.
“I just wanted to say it’s extremely sad and tragic news,” William said. “We were just reminded what an extraordinary and inspiring man Nelson Mandela was. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. It’s very sad.”
After the film’s credits, “Mandela” producer Anant Singh took the stage to announce the South African leader’s death to the theatergoers, who reportedly screamed, gasped and cried, the Mail said.
A two-minute moment of silence was held after the announcement and the after-party for the event was canceled.
Though Elba never met the South African leader before playing him, he did grow close to the family, Movies Now reported.
“What an honor it was to step into the shoes of Nelson Mandela and portray a man who defied odds, broke down barriers, and championed human rights before the eyes of the world,” Elba said in a statement Thursday.
Prior to the screening, Zindzi Mandela had expressed her excitement about the film.
The film “is something that makes me feel really proud, what my family went through and the role my father played has been recognized. It is a reward [for him],” she said. “When we document our history in this manner, we do it not just for ourselves, but also for the future generations, young people that my father is really passionate about.”
“He has seen clips of the film and said he saw [Idris and] that he thought it was him,” she added.
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