Prince William appeared on Comic Relief tonight to praise ‘compassionate’ Britons for their fundraising efforts as his brother was seen for the first time in public since his interview with Oprah Winfrey two weeks ago left his relationship with the Royal Family hanging by a thread.
In a video message recorded for the annual BBC fundraiser, the Duke of Cambridge 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’.
Wearing a red jumper, William said: ‘It’s very good to be here on Red Nose Night. 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 £74m 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’re all still dealing with the fallout from the pandemic. 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 there is help at hand when things become too much for people. Thank you for your compassion and generosity.
‘Mental health is incredibly complex and for those working incredibly hard on the frontline it’s a challenge they encounter all too often.’
Prince William has recorded a special message for Comic Relief to thank the Great British public for their generosity in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic
It comes after his brother, Prince Harry, left wife Meghan and son Archie at their £10million mansion and hit the road on an expensive electric bike on Friday, followed by a security team in a 4×4 as he pedalled through Montecito, California.
Harry, wearing New Balance trainers, a hooded top, £62 Adidas sweatpants, The Mission Continues veterans’ association baseball cap, sunglasses and mask, looked serious while racing through LA traffic as the Oprah interview continues to make headlines around the globe.
The prince was seen whizzing along a cycle lane on his electric bike, turning left down a side street as traffic queued behind him. He was not wearing a helmet – under Californian state law, only under-18s are required to wear one.
As he hit the road, 5,400 miles away in Britain his brother William and his wife Kate, continued their royal duties as sources close to the Queen said she is ‘sad but not angry’ – but has privately pledged to stand by Harry.
It also came after Prince Philip, 99, left hospital in London after a month-long stay to be reunited with the Queen at Windsor Castle.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have insisted that the two-hour sit down with CBS would be their ‘final word’ on their decision to quit as frontline royals, although their friends in the media including Gayle King have helped give a running commentary.
Ms King – a friend of Meghan’s who attended her 2019 NYC baby shower and one of Winfrey’s closest confidantes – disclosed this week that initial talks between Harry and his father the Prince of Wales and William were ‘not productive’.
And, in a thinly-veiled threat, the breakfast show presenter said the duchess had ‘documents to back up everything she said on Oprah’s interview’. She also said no-one from the royal family had yet talked to Meghan, perhaps not unsurprisingly given the plethora of highly damaging allegations she levelled against them.
Prince Harry has been seen in public for the first time since he and his wife Meghan rocked the royals with their Oprah interview. His security team were seen following in a black 4×4 (seen on the right of this image)
Harry was trailed by his security team (seen on the right in a 4×4) as he pedalled through Montecito in the Californian sunshine
Harry, wearing a cap, sunglasses, mask and sportswear used the bike lane near the Sussexes £10million mansion. The security detail followed just feet behind
Harry, wearing New Balance trainers, a hooded top, £62 Adidas sweatpants, The Mission Continues veterans’ association baseball cap, sunglasses and mask, looked serious while racing through LA traffic
Harry left his wife and son at home when he was spotted briefly enjoying a ride alone with his security
Harry peeled off left as his bodyguard followed in a 4×4 – the first time he’s been seen in around a fortnight
Harry is understood to have spoken to his brother William, but it is believed to have not gone well
Yesterday, just days after the royals were plunged into a family crisis as a result of the Sussexes’ explosive US television interview, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were pictured standing in front of a ‘Healing Hurt’ heart mural in London – complete with a crown.
William, 38, and Kate, 39, were visiting Newham Ambulance Station in east London to hear how the paramedics and staff have coped during the pandemic, with a strong focus on mental health.
But in the back of everyone’s minds was the continuing family fall-out as a result of Harry and Meghan’s bombshell chat with Oprah.
Keira Knightley, Olivia Colman, David Walliams and Idris Elba were among the stars to make an appearance on Comic Relief tonight.
The fundraiser, which is being aired on BBC One, has raised a total of £25,406,076 so far, it was announced during the programme.
Knightley appeared alongside Carey Mulligan, Michael Sheen and Jodie Whittaker in a sketch for the programme.
The stars featured in a joke trailer for the film 2020 The Movie, which also featured appearances from comedian Matt Lucas, singer Gary Barlow, actor Sanjeev Bhaskar and YouTuber KSI.
Justin Bieber also gave an exclusive performance of his song Hold On during the programme.
The programme opened with Dawn French singing Lizzo song Juice as her character from The Vicar Of Dibley
French was joined on screen at the start of the fundraiser by Gogglebox star Kate Bottley, dancing around the old living room of sitcom favourite Geraldine Granger, in a sketch that proved popular with many on social media
Freddie Flintoff, Paddy McGuinness and Chris Harris, the hosts of Top Gear, appeared on Comic Relief together this evening
Comedian Russell Brand starred as fitness guru Joe Wicks in a joke trailer for the film 2020 The Movie on the programme
Keira Knightley (pictured), Carey Mulligan, Michael Sheen and Jodie Whittaker also featured in a sketch for the programme
Double amputee racing driver Billy Monger raised £2,376,183 for Comic Relief, adding that he was ‘speechless’ by the total
The fundraiser was hosted by TV presenters Davina McCall (pictured) and Paddy McGuinness, comedian Sir Lenny Henry and singer Alesha Dixon
The programme is being presented by TV presenters Davina McCall and Paddy McGuinness, comedian Sir Lenny Henry and singer Alesha Dixon.
Comedian Dawn French opened the programme as her character from The Vicar Of Dibley as she sang Lizzo song Juice.
During the programme, comedian and children’s author Walliams joined Sir Lenny to meet schoolchildren, who were discussing the recyclable red nose being sold for Red Nose Day.
It was also revealed during the programme that double amputee racing driver Billy Monger raised £2,376,183 for Comic Relief.
Monger, who previously completed a 140-mile triathlon-inspired challenge for the charity, was told the fundraising total by the presenters.
He said he was ‘speechless’, adding: ‘That’s completely out of what I thought was possible, so thank you everyone.’
Paul Mescal, Daisy Edgar-Jones and Andrew Scott featured in a sketch based on a crossover of the hit BBC shows Fleabag and Normal People.
The clip featured Scott’s Fleabag character Hot Priest doing confession with Normal People’s Conall and Marion simultaneously as they discussed their relationship problems.
The BBC ‘s night of comedy is being hosted by TV presenters Davina McCall and Paddy McGuinness, comedian Sir Lenny Henry (pictured) and singer Alesha Dixon
Music superstar Justin Bieber also gave an exclusive performance of his song Hold On during the programme
Comedian Jack Whitehall also hosted a Comic Relief Zoom call with Idris Elba, Olivia Colman and Emma Thompson
Paul Mescal, Daisy Edgar-Jones and Andrew Scott featured in a sketch based on a crossover of the hit BBC shows Fleabag and Normal People
During The Big Night In, which aired last April, Prince William appeared in a hilarious Blackadder sketch with Stephen Fry, who reprised his iconic role as Lord Melchett.
Melchett paced around his office impatiently waiting for the Duke to call in, quipping: ‘I thought Germans were meant to be punctual’.
Apologising, William said Zoom was ‘complicated stuff’, later revealing homeschooling Prince George, Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte was proving a ‘bit of a nightmare’ in lockdown.
The Duke said he was struggling to cope with not being able to watch EastEnders, but refused the Blackadder star’s recommendation of trying Netflix sensation Tiger King instead, adding: ‘I tend to avoid shows about royalty.’
As their virtual exchange drew to a close, Melchett reminded William to go out and clap for the NHS at 8pm, before William joked about not wearing any trousers.
The show then cut to the Cambridges clapping on their doorstep in Norfolk as part of the weekly show of gratitude for health and social care workers.