On Monday afternoon, the Natural History Museum in London released a teaser to get their audience excited for their first-ever virtual ceremony awarding the Wildlife Photographer of the Year. In it, Kate Middleton, their patron and an avid photographer herself, announced that she would be handing out the fifty-sixth installment of the world’s longest running award for nature photography. In the full video, she awarded the night’s biggest prize to Sergey Gorshkov, for his photograph, The Embrace, which showed a Siberian tiger hugging a tree in the
“As we’ve seen this evening, this competition attracts the very best in wildlife photography. The skill and creativity of this year’s images provides a fascinating insight into the beauty and vulnerability of life on our planet,” she said. She also echoed some of the rhetoric of her husband, Prince William, who released a TED talk about climate change and the environment over the weekend. “Thank you to all of you who entered for showing us the magic of the natural world, and for reminding us that caring for our environment and its precious biodiversity has never been more important.”
Her appearance came at the end of a ceremony at the museum’s Hintze Hall hosted by BBC wildlife hosts Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin. The award honors skilled nature photographers around the world for their most outstanding individual images, and winning photographs included scenes of weaver ants, foxes, wasps, a Siberian tiger, a proboscis monkey, clownfish and many more.
Back in March, the Natural History Museum closed because of coronavirus, and reopened to guests again in August. To film the video, Kate made a special visit to the museum during regular hours, and the hustle and bustle was audible in her remarks. “It is so wonderful to be back at the reopened Natural History Museum where we can all enjoy its treasures once again,” she said.
Kate clearly spent some time getting ready before she arrived. She wore a satin-trimmed wool blazer with matching pants from Alexander McQueen—who also designed her wedding dress—and her hair was in loose curls that seem like they were sent directly from the pre-pandemic era. For the duration of the lockdown, Kate was reportedly using an at-home color she got from her regular stylist, Richard Ward, but last month she debuted luminous honey-brown color highlights and has continued to lighten it ever since.
Kate has been the museum’s patron since 2013, following in the footsteps of Princess Diana who held the position in the early 1990s. In 2014, she was on hand at the museum’s in-person ceremony to honor the awards’ 50th anniversary.
Kate is also the patron of the National Photographic Society, and during the pandemic lockdown she helped organize Hold Still, a photo contest and exhibition that captured scenes of the U.K. as life changed. Despite her busy schedule of Zoom meetings, she still found the time to photograph her husband, Prince William, and children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis on the grounds of Anmer Hall, their Norfolk country home, for their birthdays.
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