The Royalist


William and Kate Told of Mandela's Death As They Watch Premiere of New Film About His Life

William, forced to make ad hoc statement outside cinema, speaks of 'extraordinary and inspiring' man

Prince William and Kate Middleton were informed of the death of Nelson Mandela as they watched a new biopic about his life at a star-studded Royal premiere in London’s Leicester Square. Mandela’s daughter Zindzi, was also in attendance.

William and Kate arrive for the premiere of "Long Walk To Freedom". A few hours later they were told, during the screening, that Nelson Mandela had died (Chris Jackson)

By an extraordinary co-incidence, tonight was the UK premiere of Long Walk to Freedom, the new film about Mandela’s life, and the young royals were there, fulfilling a long-standing commitment to support the new film.

William and Kate were informed of the death of Mandela shortly before the end of the film. When the credits had rolled, an announcement was made of Mandela’s death, after which a stunned minute’s silence was observed.

William and Kate then hurriedly left the cinema, with William briefly stopping to tell reporters, “It's extremely sad and tragic news. 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.”

Video screenshot

Facts and figures from Nelson Mandela’s life, set to the trailer from ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.’

It was a sombre end to a night which began with the traditional glamour and pizzaz of a London premiere, with the presence of Kate, looking stunning in a Roland Mouret gown, adding an extra dimension of excitement to the event.

William and Kate were there because the film had beaten off other contenders to be named the official selection of the 2013 Royal Film Performance, which raises funds for the a cinematic benevolent fund, and, this year, was also in aid of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.