So last night I put on my finery, my mac, and, armed with my big Disneyland Paris umbrella, set off in the rain for the BFI Southbank to attend the Royal Premiere of the new Disneynature film African Cats in aid of Tusk.
There were wall to wall paparazzi and TV cameras as we walked along the red carpet, and we spotted Mark Knopfler, Ben Fogle and Guy Ritchie’s back, but of course everyone really wanted see at the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Even though we weren’t sitting very close to them I managed to get a good look at Kate’s face (she really is incredibly beautiful, fantastic cheekbones, and her hair is much lighter than it appears in photos and so shiny). She looked stunning in her pale grey Matthew Williamson two piece – and yes, her waist is tiny. When we’d finished rubbernecking, the film began (read my review of African Cats here).
But the real reason the Royals were there, of course, was to highlight the crucial importance of the action that needs to be taken to prevent the extinction of not only big cats, but rhinos and elephants too.
After the screening William gave an eloquent, moving speech calling for an end to wildlife poaching in Africa. ‘I have always believed in Tusk’s strategic vision that long-term success rests on educating people,’ he said. ‘Whether Africans, naturally worried about protecting their livestock from predators, or those on other continents who drive the demand for ivory and rhino horn – whoever they may be, people need to understand the consequences of the path we are currently taking.
‘They must be equipped with knowledge – and confidence to use that knowledge – to enable them to follow another path; one that harmonises the conservation of Africa’s wildlife and its habitats with the needs of human beings. This balanced and durable sustainability can only be achieved if the well-being of communities is seen as benefiting from, and being mutually reliant upon, a flourishing, stable wildlife population.’
The filmmakers believe that African Cats will help achieve these aims and if they can get it screened in China in particular then it will be a huge step forward in conservation. Let’s hope they achieve their goal and that a Disney ending for endangered species becomes a reality.