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BAFTAs pay poignant tribute to Prince Philip after his passing

Edith Bowman and Dermot O'Leary began the show honouring the late Duke

Matthew Moore

The BAFTAs have paid tribute to Prince Philip after the royal died peacefully on Friday morning. Hosting the show is Edith Bowman and Dermot O'Leary, who opened the show by honouring the Duke of Edinburgh, who was the academy's first president.

MORE: How to watch the best films from this year's BAFTAs

Dermot began: "Before we start, we were extremely saddened by the passing of His Royal Highness Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh on Friday. 

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WATCH: Prince Charles delivers a moving tribute to his "dear Papa"

"The Duke was BAFTAs very first president over 60 years ago and was the first royal patron, a line that goes all the way up to through to BAFTAs current president, his grandson the Duke of Cambridge."

Edith then added: "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 still be here in 2021. The Duke of Edinburgh occupies a very special place in BAFTAs' history and our thoughts are with the royal family."

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Edith Bowman and Dermot O'Leary are hosting Sunday night's awards

On Saturday's show, BBC Radio 1 host Clara Amfo also paid tribute to the royal in a statement. She said: "But tonight we want to say on behalf of BAFTA that we are extremely saddened by the passing of His Royal Highness Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh on Friday.

It was revealed on Saturday that Prince William would not be appearing at this year's BAFTAs ceremony following the death of Prince Philip.

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The Duke was BAFTA's very first president

The Duke of Cambridge was due to make a speech via video link instead of attending the two-day virtual event at London’s Royal Albert Hall this weekend.

MORE: All of Prince Philip's funeral details: royal guests, face masks, touching elements, and more

MORE: Prince Charles pays tribute to 'dear Papa' Prince Philip

William typically walks the red carpet with the Duchess of Cambridge – who was not due to take part in this year's event – but due to coronavirus restrictions, this year it was held virtually.

This is the first time William missed the ceremony since his appointment as president of the British Academy of Film & Television Arts in 2010.

The Duke of Cambridge was due to host a discussion on Saturday night's edition, before delivering a speech via video to celebrate the resilience of the film industry over the past year, amid the global pandemic.

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BAFTAs host Clara Amfo also delivered a poignant tribute on Saturday

It was announced on Friday that Prince Philip had "peacefully" passed away. The statement read: "It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

"His Royal Highness passed away peacefully this morning at Windsor Castle. The Royal Family join with people around the world in mourning his loss. Further announcements will be made in due course."

HELLO! understands that Prince Charles drove from Highgrove to Windsor Castle to visit his mother, the Queen, following the news of his father's death.

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