Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

In Pictures: William joins stars for Hobbit royal premiere

James Nesbitt and family arriving for the UK Premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey at the Odeon Leicester Square, London

The Duke of Cambridge attended the UK premiere of the new Hobbit film on his own, saying his pregnant wife Kate "would have loved to have been here if she could".

William joined the stars of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey for the screening in London's Leicester Square while the Duchess, whose pregnancy was announced last week, continued to rest at St James's Palace as she is suffering acute morning sickness.

Tessa Street, the general manager of the Odeon cinema which hosted last night's star-studded event in aid of the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund, met William as he arrived.

"It's really exciting to have his support for the film and the charity," she said.

"I was a bit nervous being on my own to meet him, but he was very friendly.

"I passed on my best wishes to Kate and he said, 'She would have loved to have been here if she could'."

After walking down the special "green carpet" which replaced the usual red for the night, William went inside to meet the cast and was presented with a Hobbit goodie bag to take home to Kate.

She is suffering from the condition known as hyperemesis gravidarum which leaves expectant mothers with constant nausea and regular vomiting.

Over the weekend, her bouts of vomiting intensified to such a degree that William pulled out of the British Military Tournament on Sunday evening to be with his wife.

Meeting the film's stars, William joked with Australian actress Cate Blanchett, who revisits her role as the elf queen Galadriel from the Lord Of The Rings trilogy.

Talking about the ease of travelling from her native land to New Zealand, where the Hobbit films were shot, he said: "When I go to Australia I'm always winding up the Kiwis and visa versa. You always get a reaction."

A host of stars attended the first UK performance of the latest JRR Tolkien adaptation.

The trilogy of films based on the novel by Tolkien, all directed by Sir Peter Jackson, are set in Middle Earth 60 years before the Rings trilogy.

Alongside Ms Blanchett were The Office Star Martin Freeman, who plays the title character, the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins.

Sir Ian McKellen, who reprises his role as the wizard Gandalf, was also there, as was Andy Serkis, who plays the evil creature Gollum.

Sir Ian said it was "lovely to put on the pointy hat again" and great to be in London for a film with a strong British presence.

He added: "Its cast is basically British and from the Commonwealth, Tolkien was an English writer, here we are in the capital city and it feels proper."

The royal film performance was being held in aid of CTBF, which supports film and television industry employees and their families in times of hardship.

Freeman admitted it was a challenge to star as The Hobbit himself, Bilbo Baggins, and he said he hoped fans would enjoy the film.

He said: "I loved playing it. I really loved playing it.

"I hope people like it. There's nothing more you can do. It's in the hands of Peter Jackson and the editors."

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