Why the 2023 BAFTAs will be an emotional night for Prince William and Kate Middleton

The Prince and Princess of Wales will be attending the glamorous event, but the night will be an emotional one

William and Kate's date night at the BAFTAs will have an emotional element
(Image credit: Karwai Tang/WireImage)

Prince William and Catherine, Princess of Wales will make a special appearance at the upcoming British Academy of Film and Television Awards (BAFTAs). The prestigious evening – something of an equivalent to the Academy Awards – will be an extra special affair for the royal pair as there will be a tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth.

On Tuesday, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts committee announced that this year’s BAFTA awards ceremony will have a special tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth.

Making it that little bit more special is the fact that Dame Helen Mirren, who famously played the monarch in the 2006 film The Queen, will lead the “special tribute.”

In a statement, the awards organization wrote, “The Queen occupies a unique place in BAFTA’s history, a close association that spanned 50 years. Through her various patronages, The Queen was renowned for her support of the UK’s creative industries.”

Queen Elizabeth was a patron of the BAFTAs and will receive a special tribute

(Image credit: TEVE PARSONS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

It’ll make the evening a bittersweet one for Prince William and Catherine, who are set to attend the soiree for the first time in three years.

Since 2010, William has held the title of president of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, taking over the role from his late grandfather Prince Philip and aunt Princess Anne.

Kensington Palace confirmed earlier this month that he and Kate Middleton, will attend the award ceremony this Sunday (February 19), making their first appearance at the event under their new titles, the Prince and Princess of Wales.

This is also the first time in three years that the royal couple has been able to attend the BAFTAs. In 2021, William was scheduled to deliver a speech via video, but had to pull out due to the death of his grandfather.

Helen Mirren will lead the tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II

(Image credit: David Crump - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Over the past five decades, the BAFTAs have enjoyed a close relationship with the royal family as the late Queen served as patron of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, the Royal Variety Charity and the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund. She even donated her portion of the proceeds from the 1969 BBC documentary Royal Family to the Society of Film and Television Arts, which was the BAFTA's predecessor, so that the organization could establish a headquarters.

Helen Mirren’s involvement is a special nod to her previous BAFTA winning performance in the aforementioned 2006 movie, as well as reprising the role of Her Majesty in a Broadway play, The Audience, in 2014.

In 2011, Dame Helen got the opportunity to meet Queen Elizabeth herself during a reception held at Buckingham Palace. Two years later, the Queen actually received a BAFTA of her own – not for acting, unsurprisingly. She was awarded a special award honoring her long history of supporting film and television in the UK.

Sunday’s service will be a final opportunity for the Queen to be honored by a committee and a community she supported so fully.

Jack Slater
Freelance writer

Jack Slater is not the Last Action Hero, but that's what comes up first when you Google him. Preferring a much more sedentary life, Jack gets his thrills by covering news, entertainment, celebrity, film and culture for woman&home, and other digital publications.

Having written for various print and online publications—ranging from national syndicates to niche magazines—Jack has written about nearly everything there is to write about, covering LGBTQ+ news, celebrity features, TV and film scoops, reviewing the latest theatre shows lighting up London’s West End and the most pressing of SEO based stories.