William and Kate end US trip with charity gala
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge ended their three-day tour of New York with a fundraising dinner gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The royal couple were the guests of honour at the lavish ceremony, which was held to celebrate the 600th anniversary of the University of St Andrews.
The black-tie event raised a significant amount of money for the institution, which will provide funding for scholarships and bursaries to support under-privileged students. A part of the funds will also be utilised to develop and improve campus facilities and offer a lectureship in American literature.
Both William and Kate share history with the institution, as they met at St Andrews as young students over a decade ago and graduated from the university in 2005. William is now a patron of the university’s fundraising campaign.
On arrival at the museum, the royal couple were greeted by a guard of honour – fellow alumni wearing traditional red St Andrews gowns – and kilt-clad bystanders.
After attending the pre-dinner reception – held in the museum’s Vélez Blanco patio, famous for its 16th century marble statues donated by a Spanish castle – they met and talked with fellow guests.
A ticket to the gala ranged from $2,500-$10,000. The event was attended by 450 guests, including the university’s principal Louise Richardson, Princess Eugenie, Olivier Sarkozy and Vogue editor Anna Wintour.
The dinner was hosted in the Temple of Dendur – a suite adorned with magnificent statues of Egyptian gods dating before the birth of Christ.
During the dinner, Prince William shared memories with the guests of the couple’s time spent at the university. He said: “I don’t need to tell you how much St Andrews means to me and Catherine. By joining us here this evening you are supporting a remarkable independent institution.” He later quipped it was a long-running joke amongst St Andrews students that graduates end up “either married or an alcoholic. Fortunately for Catherine and me we ended up married.” He also praised the creativity and academic excellence found at the university.
After-dinner entertainment came from award-winning opera singer Renée Fleming and was hosted by US comedian Seth Meyers, who replaced actor Tom Hanks at the last minute. Hanks was due to host as his daughter had attended the university, but he pulled out due to personal circumstances.
A charity auction, which aimed to raise money for the university, closed the evening’s entertainment. After the auction, the Duke and the Duchess – who was wearing a navy dress from UK designer Jenny Packham – left the city to catch an overnight flight from John F Kennedy airport to London.