Bafta Film Awards 2021: Ceremony pays tribute to first BAFTA president Prince Philip

Tom Beasley
·Contributor
·3-min read

Watch: Bafta Film Awards offers tribute to Prince Philip

The Bafta Film Awards paid tribute to Prince Philip on the first night of its annual ceremony on Saturday.

The late royal was the first president of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, holding the post from 1959 until 1965.

He passed away on Friday at the age of 99, sparking an outpouring of grief across the United Kingdom and the wider world.

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Presenter Clara Amfo opened the pre-recorded opening night of the two-part Bafta awards show with a tribute to the Duke of Edinburgh, recognising his contribution to the organisation.

She said: "Before we start tonight we want to say that on behalf of Bafta we are extremely saddened by the passing of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, on Friday.

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, passed away this week at the age of 99. (Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, passed away this week at the age of 99. (Photo by Andrew Milligan/PA Images via Getty Images)

“The duke was Bafta’s very first president over 60 years ago and was the first of a line of royal patronage all the way through to Bafta’s current president — his grandson, the Duke of Cambridge.

“It was Prince Philip and Her Majesty the Queen’s support throughout these years that in many ways allowed Bafta — a leading charity in the arts — to continue in difficult times and to be here today in 2021 celebrating another outstanding year of achievement in film."

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Bafta has been linked to the royal family throughout its history, from Prince Philip's involvement through to that of his daughter — the Princess Royal — from 1973 until 2001.

Prince William took on the role of Bafta president in 2010 and has been involved in the organisation ever since, with former BBC director-general and FA chairman Greg Dyke serving as vice-president.

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, presents an award to Richard Attenborough at the 16th British Academy Film Awards on 8 May, 1963. (Photo by Les Lee/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, presents an award to Richard Attenborough at the 16th British Academy Film Awards on 8 May, 1963. (Photo by Les Lee/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Prince William has been due to take part in this year's Bafta ceremony over both nights, but chose to pull out in the wake of his grandfather's death.

He was due to interview costume designer Jenny Beavan and make-up and hair designer Sharon Martin on the first night, before delivering a speech celebrating the industry on Sunday.

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On the first night of the 2021 Baftas, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom won two awards, with Tenet, Rocks and Sound of Metal each winning prizes too.

Clara Amfo presented the first night of the Baftas with actor Joanna Scanlan and critic Rhianna Dhillon.

Edith Bowman and Dermot O’Leary are due to present Sunday night's event.

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