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Prince William pays tribute to Nelson Mandela at Long Walk To Freedom screening


Story by Jack Foley

PRINCE William has paid tribute to Nelson Mandela at the Royal Film Performance of Justin Chadwick’s biopic, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom.

The film had been selected as this year’s Royal Film Performance and was attended by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate Middleton, on the same night that the South African civil rights leader died, at the age of 95.

The movie’s director, Chadwick, was joined by Idris Elba, who plays the South African hero in the film, and Naomie Harris (Winnie Mandela) as well as Mandela’s daughters Zindzi and Zenani at the gala event at the Odeon Leicester Square on Thursday, December 4, 2013.

The royal couple were informed of Mandela’s passing before they left the auditorium, while the film’s producer Anant Singh told the audience the news from the stage after the screening, accompanied by Chadwick, Elba and producer David Thompson.

The lights were brought up shortly after the film ended and a minute’s silence was observed following the announcement.

Speaking afterwards, Prince William told journalists in the foyer of the cinema: “I just wanted to say 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.“

Mandela’s daughters had not been scheduled to stay for the film after walking the red carpet, so neither were there after the news of their father’s death was relayed to the audience.

Part of the proceeds from the screening will be donated to the former South African president’s children’s charity, as well as to the main beneficiary, the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund (CTBF).

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom is scheduled to be released in UK cinemas in January 2014.

Related: Idris Elba and Morgan Freeman lead film world tributes to Nelson Mandela