The Royal Marsden Charity Gala

The Royal Marsden Charity Gala at Windsor Castle by Prince William
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Royal Marsden charity gala
Prince William with Ralph Lauren
Prince William with Kate Moss
Lily James, Cate Blanchett and Kate Moss
The Ralph Lauren family
Zhang Ziyi
Benedict Cumberbatch
Sophie Turner
Prince William
Cate Blanchett
Ralph Lauren
Kate Moss in black Gown
Glittering gala dinner at Royal Windsor Castle
Emma Watson
Kate Moss with Jamie Hince

While the Duchess of Cambrige, Kate Williams, stayed at home babysitting, Prince William threw a Glittering Gala Dinner in the Castle where guests like Kate Moss, Benedict Cumberbatch and Emma Watson showed up to enjoy the evening.

Prince William throws open the doors of the Royal Windsor Castle for glitzy ball where guests include Kate Moss, Emma Watson and Benedict Cumberbatch – but Kate stays at home with the baby. His wife may have been at home on baby-sitting duty, but glamour was still the order of the day as Prince William threw open the doors of Windsor Castle on Tuesday night. Guests including models Kate Moss, Cara Delevingne and actresses Cate Blanchett and Emma Watson were among a host of stars of fashion, stage and screen attending a glittering gala dinner to celebrate the work of The Royal Marsden Hospital, of which the prince is president. Also on the list are Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch, actress Helena Bonham Carter, photographer Mario Testino and Downton Abbey’s Laura Carmichael. Many will no doubt be disappointed at the absence of the Duchess of Cambridge, a fashion ambassador if ever there were one. Ostensibly, she is still on maternity leave.

Prince William model Kate Moss and actress Emma Watson
But royal aides have also made clear that she and William want to keep their engagements and charitable projects largely separate (although Kate has visited the Royal Marsden with her husband) in order to spread their influence more widely. And of course there are those who might suspect the glamorous Duchess is all too aware her presence might somewhat overshadow her husband’s big night. The event was leant an extra dose of allure courtesy of its sponsor, fashion designer Ralph Lauren, who has announced he is funding an entire new breast cancer centre at the hospital.

Prince William with Ralph Lauren
William’s designer-clad guests (many in Ralph Lauren, naturally) first enjoyed a drinks reception in the historic Waterloo Chamber, built in tribute to the success of Britain’s victory against Napoleon in 1815. The chambers’ walls are covered with limewood carvings dating back to the 1680s, while the floor is covered with an Indian carpet woven by the inmates of Agra prison for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee which is thought to be the largest seamless carpet in existence, weighing in at two tonnes.
Prince William with Cate Blanchett

Lauren, 74, and his wife of 50 years, Ricky, made a rare foray away from their home in the US to attend the event with their three sons. One, David, is married to the niece of former US President George Bush, model Lauren Bush – or Lauren Lauren, to use her married name. In the Grand Reception Room William  was introduced to Mr and Mrs Lauren, and immediately apologised for the Duchess’s absence. He said: ‘I’m sorry my wife’s not here, you probably would far rather you saw my wife.’ ‘Not at all,’ said Mr Lauren. Afterwards, the impossibly beautiful 200-strong party walked through to the 180-foot long St George’s Hall for a lavish three course dinner.
Ralph Lauren Family at Royal Castle

The Duke also told Mr Lauren: ‘It’s a wonderful thing you’re backing, it will be another great addition to the hospital.’ When Mr Lauren said he had been looking at several possible projects, the Duke smiled and said: ‘You’ve chosen wisely.’ After meeting Mr and Mrs Lauren and The Royal Marsden’s chairman Ian Molson and chief executive Cally Palmer, the Duke met Emeli Sande before making his way into the Waterloo Chamber, where the 220 guests were sipping champagne and eating canapés. One of the first people he spoke to was Benedict Cumberbatch, who later said he felt ‘guilty’ for spending so much time chatting to him.

Prince William with Kate Moss

He said: ‘He is just a stand-up guy. I completely forgot to ask him how he got over his jet lag from his trip to Australia because I was there at the same time and I saw all the commotion when he went to Sydney Opera House. ‘Hopefully tonight will raise awareness of the work of The Royal Marsden – that’s what we’re here for. Cancer isn’t a disease that needs much awareness but it does need continued funding for research.’ The Duke also chatted to Laura Carmichael, one of three Downton Abbey stars at the event, together with Allen Leech, who plays former chauffeur Tom Branson, and Lily James, who plays Lady Rose MacClare.

Benedict Cumberbatch at Royal Gala
Miss Carmichael, whose mother is a radiographer, said: ‘We’re halfway through shooting the next series of Downton Abbey but the Duke didn’t ask for any plot details. He is probably waiting until it comes out in September.’ Standing next to Miss Carmichael was Helena Bonham Carter, who said: ‘The Duke and I met before, along with the Duchess, before they were married, when I was staying on Mustique. ‘I got very drunk at one point and I was determined to ask him to be a godfather to my daughter. He quite wisely said no. I admire him. He has got the same grace as both his parents.’

Glittering gala dinner Royal Castle
The guests then made their way into the Great Hall, where they took their places at two long rows of tables. The Duke sat between Ralph Lauren’s wife Ricky and Mr Molson. Opposite him was Ralph Lauren, who had Cate Blanchett on his left and Lady Bamford, wife of the JCB founder Lord Bamford, to his right. Also seated near the Duke were David and Julia Koch, the American billionaire philanthropists. Before the meal the Duke made a speech in which he spoke of the ‘brilliant work’ of the hospital and thanked Ralph Lauren for his ‘incredibly generous’ decision to fund the new breast cancer research unit at the hospital’s Chelsea site. He added: ‘I am enormously grateful to Ralph Lauren for his generosity, and to all of you who so kindly support the hospital. You should know that what you do saves lives and gives hope to thousands of people.’

Duke at Royal Marsden charity Gala
William became President of the hospital in 2007, taking up a position once held by his mother. Last year he watched surgical procedures in one of the world famous cancer care centre’s operating theatres. He also supports the work of the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, a member of the Charities Forum of which the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry are patrons. Officially, the dinner is being held “to celebrate the innovative work of The Royal Marsden and bring together the Hospital’s world-leading consultants, supporters and philanthropists”. Unofficially, it is a chance to dazzle wealthy supporters with an impressive array of royalty and celebrity to ensure their continued generosity.
The Ralph Lauren family at Windsor Castle

The A-list guests are all friends or supporters of the hospital, and after dinner they were looking forward to a performance by the award-winning singer Emeli Sande. Designer Ralph Lauren himself had a benign brain tumour removed 25 years ago and lost his close friend Nina Hyde to breast cancer in 1990. He has donated millions to cancer research around the world over the past 20 years including the proceeds from UK sales of his Pink Pony range of clothing and accessories to The Royal Marsden.

Mr Lauren, who is reportedly worth £4 billion, will now launch the Ralph Lauren Breast Cancer Centre as part of a new philanthropic partnership with the hospital. Speaking before the event, Lauren, 74, said he was excited about meeting the Duke for the first time, having known Diana, Princess of Wales through their common interest in fighting cancer. He said: ‘I’m looking forward to it. He’s taken up his mother’s movement. Tonight’s not a fashion moment as far as I’m concerned, it’s a moment of connection.’ Speaking about the Duchess of Cambridge, who sometimes wears his clothes, he told the Evening Standard: ‘Everyone loves her in the US.

Lily James, Cate Blanchett and Kate Moss

She’s got a charming way about her and she’s very beautiful. I think she’s doing her job – as the Prince’s wife and mother of the future king – perfectly. ‘And the Prince comes across as a good guy – they seem like a couple you’d want to talk to – real people.’ Lauren was introduced to the staff of The Royal Marsden by Alexandra Shulman, the editor-in-chief of Vogue and a trustee of the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity, who also helped draw up list of the 200 guests at the dinner. The Royal Marsden is the oldest, largest and most comprehensive cancer centre in Europe, with a history of ground-breaking research.