Did Prince William skip BAFTA because of the war in Ukraine?

Did Prince William skip BAFTA because of the war in Ukraine? Duke sent a video message instead of attending the glitzy ceremony due to ‘diary constraints’ – even though he’ll go to Commonwealth Day service today

  • Prince William skipped BAFTA ceremony last night and sent a video message
  • His absence was put down to ‘diary constraints precluding him from attending’ 
  • It is also possible the royal was wary of going to the event amid war in Ukraine
  • Duke of Cambridge is expected to join Royal Family at a service today 

The BAFTA red carpet usually counts two royal VIPs among its guests: the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. 

But last night the royal couple skipped the ceremony, with BAFTA president Prince William choosing to send a pre-recorded video message instead.

The royal’s absence was reportedly down to ‘diary constraints [that] precluded him from attending in person’. The decision is said to have left organisers ‘very disappointed’ because the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are a ‘huge draw’. 

But the explanation has raised eyebrows because William is set to attend the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey today, less than 24 hours after the awards show.

It has prompted speculation that William, 39, potentially chose to give the BAFTAs a miss because he was uneasy about attending the event amid the war in Ukraine.

The BAFTA red carpet usually counts two royal VIPs among its guests: the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. But last night the royal couple skipped the ceremony, with BAFTA president Prince William choosing to send a pre-recorded video message instead. Pictured, in 2020

The royal’s absence was reportedly down to ‘diary constraints [that] precluded him from attending in person’. The decision is said to have left organisers ‘very disappointed’ because the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are a ‘huge draw’. Above, William’s video message

Other commentators have questioned whether the Duke of Cambridge is taking a stand against BAFTA broadcaster the BBC over its The Princes And The Press series, which accused the Cambridges of briefing against the Sussexes. 

The Mail On Sunday’s Amanda Platell wrote: ‘I’m puzzled that Prince William, President of BAFTA, has pulled out of tomorrow night’s glittering awards ceremony to be broadcast on the BBC, due to ‘diary constraints which precluded him from attending in person’.

‘Surely, every royal’s diary is decided many months in advance.

‘My guess is that after the Beeb’s appallingly biased The Princes And The Press series, presented by their bejewelled star Amol Rajan and accusing the Cambridges of briefing against the Sussexes, William decided on a no-show, except by video.

‘Is this a sign of the royals ghosting the republican Beeb? If so, it’s not a moment too soon.’

Taking to Twitter, one royal follower noted: ‘William is President of BAFTA, so he would be expected to attend. He may consider it inappropriate because of what’s happening in Ukraine.’

Another posted online: ‘William might not explain, but he doesn’t forget. I’m sure he isn’t going to BAFTA b/c of the optics w/Ukraine, but bet he isn’t heartbroken that his cancellation will hurt the BBC.’  

Prince William has been a regular fixture on the BAFTA red carpet since being named president 10 years ago. 

The Duchess of Cambridge has also joined him on a number of occasions.   

The absence has prompted speculation that William, 39, potentially chose to give the BAFTAs a miss because he was uneasy about attending the event amid the war in Ukraine. Pictured, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on a visit to the Ukrainian Cultural Centre in London

A source told The Mirror yesterday: ‘Prince William is always a huge draw, not least as it’s the first year back in person after the pandemic.

‘But BAFTA were told that diary constraints precluded him from attending in person this year. It’s such a shame and everyone is very disappointed.’ 

The ‘diary constraints’ are thought to be linked to preparation for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s upcoming Caribbean tour, which kicks off on Saturday. 

However Royal expert Robert Jobson noted Prince William is not obliged to attend every event. He told Femail: ‘I don’t think as patron you commit to every ceremony, even if the organisers were under the assumption that he would.

‘I believe previous royal patrons haven’t attended every event.’ 

William was still able to share his comments via a pre-recorded video message, in which he said he is ‘extremely proud’ of the Academy’s Breakthrough mentoring programme, which has has ‘provided opportunities and support for talented people’. 

In the 90 second speech, William said: ‘Hello everyone. As president of BAFTA, I’m extremely proud to see the work that BAFTA undertakes year round to provide opportunities and support for talented people to develop successful careers in films, games and television.

‘One of these programmes is Breakthrough, a yearlong mentoring and guidance initiative which helps people achieve their true potential.

‘It’s wonderful that there are more than 30 participants from Breakthrough UK in the audience this evening.

‘Two of them, Aleem Khan and Jessie Buckley, are nominated for awards tonight.

‘They join an impressive list of young talent including Bukky Bakray and Florence Pugh, as well as Paapa Essiedu, and Ray Panthaki, who are closely involved with BAFTA nominated films.

‘BAFTA hopes to inspire and support future generations from all walks of life to become the filmmakers of the future.  

‘And I hope that for some of you watching these awards, that journey starts today. Congratulations to all the nominees and winners and I wish you all a wonderful evening.’ 

MailOnline has contacted Kensington Palace for comment.  

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