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William hails strength and diversity of competition in Bafta categories

The Prince of Wales has said he has a list of movies to watch after attending the Baftas, hailing the strength and diversity of the competition within each category.

William, who is president of the arts charity, sat in the front row of the 2,400-seat auditorium at the Royal Festival Hall on Sunday in his first high-profile royal engagement since his wife’s operation.

At the prestigious film event last year, he was accompanied by the Princess of Wales, who had abdominal surgery on January 16 at the London Clinic and has since returned home to Adelaide Cottage in Windsor to be with their three children.

William and Cate Blanchett
William sat next to Cate Blanchett at the ceremony (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

The prince made apologies for Kate’s absence at a short meet and greet before the ceremony, saying she loves the Bafta film awards.

After all the gongs had been awarded, William met with some of the nominees of the rising star award – won by the star of coming-of-age film How To Have Sex, Mia McKenna-Bruce.

He told them: “The category was so strong, all of you, it was like who is going to pull this off?

“It was incredible. It was very close between all of you.”

William and David Beckham
William greeted former footballer David Beckham before the ceremony got under way (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

He congratulated Ms McKenna-Bruce and admitted he had not watched her film yet, but said: “It looked like you had a lot of fun the whole way through.”

Upon her recommendation to watch it, William said: “I’ve got a lot of films to catch up on.

“Normally I get quite ahead of the awards ceremony, I get to see quite a few of them. I haven’t managed to get that many through.”

He added that he now has a list of films to watch.

William reiterated the strength of the competition when speaking to the director and two producers of Earth Mama – which won outstanding debut by a British writer, director or producer.

He told the three women: “The competition in all the categories were so strong this year.”

William with Jonathan Glazer and James Wilson
William met with The Zone of Interest director Jonathan Glazer and producer James Wilson (Jordan Pettitt/PA)

“And also what’s so lovely is there was diversity in so many areas,” William added.

The prince also spoke to the director and producer of Zone Of Interest, Jonathan Glazer and James Wilson, whose movie won the Bafta for outstanding British film.

For the ceremony, William sat in the front row next to Australian actress and Earthshot Prize council member Cate Blanchett, briefly greeting former footballer David Beckham before the awards got underway.

Earlier, he made his way down the red carpet wearing a black bow tie and navy velvet suit jacket, waving to cameras and stopping to chat and take selfies with a few members of the public.

Speaking with organisers outside the auditorium, he told Charlotte Moore, chief content officer at the BBC, that he “loved” Oppenheimer, which ended up winning best film.