The Duke of Cambridge has thanked the public for their “compassion and generosity” in raising millions for good causes during the BBC’s fundraising night of comedy last year.
In a video message recorded for Comic Relief, William highlighted how some of the huge sums raised would be spent on the nation’s mental health to ensure “help is at hand when things become too much for people”.
Last year, William starred in a Blackadder sketch with Stephen Fry during the BBC’s Big Night In – an evening of entertainment which raised more than £74 million for Comic Relief, BBC Children in Need and the National Emergencies Trust, which William supports as patron.
The duke played himself opposite Fry, who was in character as Lord Melchett, and joked about home schooling saying: “It’s a bit of a nightmare, really”.
William said in his video message: “Many of you will be as relieved as I am that I’m not doing another comedy sketch like I did last year for the Big Night In.
“Your incredible generosity raised over £74 million for so many brilliant charities, including the National Emergencies Trust, at a time when Covid was first really taking its toll. Thank you all so much.
“Of course, while the vaccine gives us much hope for the future, we are all still dealing with the fall-out from the pandemic.
“And I’m particularly pleased that Comic Relief continues to fund so many projects that support people’s mental health, which has come under particular strain over the past year.
“This is a subject that is very close to my heart and it’s wonderful to know that your support tonight will make sure that there is help at hand when things become too much for people.
“Thank you for your compassion and generosity.
“Mental health is complex – and for those incredibly hard-working people on the front line it’s a challenge they’ve sadly encountered all too often.”
William’s message introduced a film that highlighted the huge increase in the number of people experiencing mental health issues over the past year and the support being provided by organisations funded by Comic Relief.
Comic Relief’s Night of TV was hosted by presenters Davina McCall and Paddy McGuinness, comedian Sir Lenny Henry and singer Alesha Dixon.