The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were in London tonight for the premiere of Long Walk To Freedom, a film based on the autobiography of former South African president Nelson Mandela. They were not informed until the end of the film that Mandela had subsequently passed away at home aged 95 following a long illness. The tragic news was broken to stunned guests at the Odeon cinema after the final credits had rolled and a two-minute silence was held.
Afterwards Williams 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.' The evening was meant to be a happy occasion, celebrating the life of a man who changed South Africa - and the world. British actor Idris Elba plays the lead role of Mandela in Long Walk To Freedom while his wife Winnie is portrayed by Skyfall actress Naomie Harris.
The premiere was attended by Mandela's daughter, Zindzi, who was representing the family for the evening. On the red carpet, before the screening, she said: 'My father is fine. He's 95 years old and he is pretty frail. We are hoping to see more of him.'
The Prince of Wales later said in a statement: 'Mr Mandela was the embodiment of courage and reconciliation. He was also a man of great humour and had a real zest for life. With his passing, there will be an immense void not only in his family's lives, but also in those of all South Africans and the many others whose lives have been changed through his fight for peace, justice and freedom. The world has lost an inspired leader and a great man. My family and I are profoundly saddened and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.'
As usual on the red carpet, Kate wore and elegant floor-length dress. The white design was by Roland Mouret, named the 'Lombard' inspired by actress Carole Lombard, which Kate wore once before to a dinner at Claridge's in 2012. She teamed it with black suede courts by Prada, a black clutch bag and a dazzling statement necklace by Zara.
Actress Naomie Harris wore a black strapless gown by Alexander McQueen with a peplum detail at the hip with rich gold embellishment.
Read journalist Karen Bartlett's piece on the life of Nelson Mandela here.