Kate Middleton and Prince William's $2m Dinner
It was the fundraiser to end all fundraisers, and no one was even asked to do anything so vulgar as to contribute any cash.
Prince William and Kate Middleton are believed to have raised more than $2 million for their charity on their first night in New York—without even having to go to the trouble of asking anyone to open their checkbooks.
Today, Kate has been touring a developmental centre in Harlem while William has been meeting Obama in Washington DC, but last night, less than an hour after the couple checked in to the storied Carlyle Hotel on the Upper East Side, they were whizzing downtown to the Gramercy Park apartment of British advertising legend Sir Martin Sorrell of WPP. There, they were the guests of honor at an ultra-exclusive fundraising dinner in aid of their umbrella charity, the American Friends of the Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
En route to the dinner, William and Kate would have driven past the Empire State Building, which was lit up in red, white, and blue in honor of their visit.
Kate had changed out of the Seraphine maternity coat dress she wore on arrival at the Carlyle into a black lace Beulah cocktail dress for the party. She smiled for the cameras and posed briefly as she arrived at Sir Martin’s home.
The dinner began with a short address by Sir Martin’s wife, Cristiana.
The dinner was strictly private, with just 30 invites issued to New York’s richest philanthropists and their partners.
Among the attendees were thought to be several senior members of the board of the American Friends. Board members include Blackstone boss John Studzinski; Lucian Grainge, the CEO of Universal Music Group; and former Scots Guards captain and financier Charles Andrews.
While there was nothing so gauche as a recommended donation for the privilege of dining with the royals, the rumor is that no couple walked out of the gigantic apartment any less than $100,000 lighter, and that many of the guests are likely to have pledged larger sums, meaning the dinner is likely to have raised as much as $2 million in all.
The dinner was the first stop on a whirlwind three-day tour that saw William travel today to Washington, D.C., where he met President Obama at the White House and succesfully recruited the president into his war on wildlife crime.
The President praised Wiliam's efforts to combat illegal wildlife trade, saying: "I think it's very important work."
William joked to President Obama that he had forgot to ask whether Prince George was a boy or a girl in the moments after the royal birth.
"I didn't work out whether it was a boy or a girl," the Duke told the President. "The excitement of the event and everything else was just chaos, so you're suddenly like: 'Actually it's a boy in the end.'"
"You forgot to ask?" Mr Obama said, through laughter, according to an eyewitness report of the meeting in The Telegraph.
With her husband in DC, Kate is undertaking a string of public engagements in New York today, including a visit to a development center in Harlem.
Kate waved to onlookers as she arrived in Harlem at 11:15 before going inside the Northside Centre with Chirlane McCray, the First Lady of New York - wearing a coat by British brand Goat, named the Washington.
The palace has emphasized that Kate’s schedule has been planned to allow plenty of breaks.
Tonight, Kate and William are due to attend a basketball game in Brooklyn where, rumour has it, Kate might meet Beyonce, an event which threatens to break the internet.
The fundraising will continue Tuesday night with a gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art to support a 600th-anniversary appeal by St Andrew’s University, where the couple first met.
The £85,000-per-table guest list includes Tom Hanks (whose daughter studied at the Scottish university), Mary-Kate Olsen, and William’s cousin Princess Eugenie, who is working at an auction house in New York.