The death of South African leader Nelson Mandela was announced Thursday night while Weinstein’s “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” had a Royal Film Performance at the Odeon Leicester Square.
Prior to the screening, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge met with stars Idris Elba, Naomie Harris, director Justin Chadwick, Harvey Weinstein and Mandela’s daughter Zindzi Mandela.
William and Kate were told of Mandela’s death during the screening, and a moment of silence was held after the film was screened. Prince William made a statement from the foyer of the Odeon, saying, “I just wanted to say it’s extremely sad and tragic news. We were just reminded what an extraordinary and inspiring man Nelson Mandela was. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his family right now.”
The Royal Film Performance honors trustees and beneficiaries of the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund, and this year also benefited The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.
Elba also released a statement after the event. “What an honor it was to step into the shoes of Nelson Mandela and portray a man who defied odds, broke down barriers and championed human rights before the eyes of the world. My thoughts and prayers are with his family,” he said. “I am stunned at this very moment, in mourning with the rest of the world and Madiba’s family. We have lost one of the greatest human beings to have walked this earth, I only feel honored to be associated with him. He is in a better place now.”