William's mind on George at awards
Published 12/09/2013 | 21:06
The Duke of Cambridge has joked about spending his first night away from baby son Prince George as he attended a glittering black-tie awards ceremony championing wildlife conservationists.
William and wife Kate were guests of honour at the inaugural Tusk Trust awards, held at the Royal Society in central London, which recognised the work of tireless campaigners.
But the Duke joked that he might be seen checking his mobile phone to make sure all was well back home with his son, in the care of William's former nanny, Jessie Webb. It is believed Ms Webb, 71, is looking after the baby as and when the couple need her and is not working for them full-time.
Kate dazzled in a silver sequinned Jenny Packham dress and told Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba, who asked who George took after: "Like most babies, he's got a mix of both of us."
The Cambridges' evening out came after William announced that he had given up his operational career in the military and was now considering options for future "public service". This year will be a "transitional" one for the Duke and he will be expanding his core charitable interests - including his passion for conservation - as he carries out his normal royal duties, which are not expected to increase.
In a sign of the direction his public life may take, it was also announced earlier that William had become president of a new umbrella conservation organisation he has formed called United for Wildlife. He is royal patron of the UK-based African wildlife conservation charity Tusk Trust, which staged Thursday night's awards ceremony.
In a speech to guests, William started by saying: "As you might have gathered, Catherine and I have recently become proud parents - of a baby who has a voice to match any lion's roar. This is actually our first evening out without him, so please excuse us if you see us nervously casting cheeky glances at our mobile phones to check all is well back home.
"Like any new parents, our thoughts inevitably turn to the world that our child will inherit. It is unfathomable to imagine a world in which children who have been born in the past couple of months may grow up in a world in which rhinoceros have ceased to exist in the wild."
He added: "The possibility of extinction is bad enough for one of our children growing up here in the West, who will never experience the magic of seeing a rhino on a new television documentary; or even for my own little George, who Catherine and I very much hope to introduce to east Africa - a place we know and love - in the fullness of time.
"But for a child growing up in Africa and whose birthright and economic inheritance these creatures are, it is nothing more than immoral that he or she may never experience what his parents and grandparents knew and treasured."