Prince William, throws the doors of Windsor castle open for a grand dinner arranged to celebrate the innovative work of The Royal Marsden and bring together the Hospital’s world-leading consultants, supporters and philanthropists on Tuesday night. The Royal Marsden is the oldest, largest and most comprehensive cancer centre in Europe, with a history of ground-breaking research and Prince William became President of the hospital in 2007, taking up a position earlier held by his mother. Last year he watched surgical procedures in one of the world famous cancer care centre’s operating theaters.
This gala dinner had a guest list comprising of 220 A-listers such as Sherlock’s Benedict Cumberbatch, actress Helena Bonham Carter, photographer Mario Testino and Downton Abbey’s Laura Carmichael, Emma Watson, Cate Blanchett, Kate Moss, Sophie Turner and the list goes on. Though this was the guestlist, Prince William’s wife, Kate Middleton remained absent. Maybe she was on bay sitting sitting duty that night, but whatever the reason maybe the glamorous Duchess was missed by all the guests who kept enquiring about her to Prince William.
Though, officially, the dinner is being held to celebrate the innovative work of The Royal Marsden, it was unofficially a chance to dazzle wealthy supporters with an impressive array of royalty and celebrity to ensure their continued generosity.
Designer Ralph Lauren who himself had a benign brain tumour removed 25 years ago and lost his close friend Nina Hyde to breast cancer in 1990 donated £4 billion 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 Royal Marsden to launch an all new Ralph Lauren Breast Cancer Centre as part of a new philanthropic partnership with the hospital.
Ralph 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. 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 also 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.’
The party, grand as it was, didn’t leave a single array of disappointment. 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 lime wood 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.
These guests were then led into the 180-foot long St.George’s Hall where they took their places at two long rows of tables and enjoyed a lavish three course meal. 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.