By DEBORAH ARTHURS
Kate steps out of the car at the African Cats premiere into the rainy evening - but manages to keep smiling despite the chill and the damp
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge walked the red carpet last night as they highlighted Africa's threatened wildlife at the UK premiere of a big cats film.
William and Kate were dazzled by dozen of flashbulbs when they arrived for the screening of the nature documentary raising funds for the Duke's UK-based animal conservation charity Tusk Trust.
The royal couple, who celebrate their first wedding anniversary on Sunday, stepped from their chauffeur-driven car and walked the short distance to the BFI Southbank in London as banks of photographers shouted for their attention.
A true gent! William protects his wife from the rain as they arrive at the BFI Southbank for the premiere of African Cats, a nature documentary set to raise money for charity Tusk Trust
The Duke of Cambridge, a patron of the animal welfare charity, and the Duchess of Cambridge were greeted by Amanda Neville head of the BFI, at tonight's event
Kate wore a grey Matthew Williamson dress with subtle peplum detail and jade green beading trim for the event - which was protected from the rain by her husband's chivalrous way with the umbrella
Kate was in high spirits at the event, despite the sombre weather. The film she was to attend tells the story of life on Kenya's plains for a pride of lions and a family of cheetahs as they battle for survival
Kate was wearing a Matthew Williamson grey dress with three-quarter-length sleeves and deep turquoise and gold beaded details around the neck and sleeves, while William looked smart in a dark suit.
Mark Knopfler, lead singer of the group Dire Straits, was among the guests along with filmmaker Guy Ritchie and Dragons' Den judge Deborah Meaden, a patron of Tusk Trust.
The wildlife film tells the story of life on Kenya's plains for a pride of lions and a family of cheetahs as they battle for survival.
Hollywood star Patrick Stewart narrates the true-life story of cheetah Sita bringing up her five cubs in the Masai Mara game reserve and of Mara, a six month-old lion cub being raised by her mother Layla.
The Duchess of Cambridge's hair and make up, the latter of which she is known to do herself, were impeccable, as usual
William is a self-confessed lover of Africa, its people and wildlife, and has worries about the current animal welfare crisis that has seen renewed interest from poachers in elephant ivory and rhino horns.
Demand from consumers in the Far East and China has seen prices for the animal products rise significantly in recent years.
Charlie Mayhew, co-founder of Tusk Trust which has William as its royal patron, said about the Duke:
'He's passionate about Africa and he's very concerned about the current crisis.
'We are now seeing daily reports of elephants being poached across the continent and in South Africa, the country has lost 170 rhinos already this year.'
Kate's Matthew Williamson dress is from the British designer's pre-fall 2012 collection and features the design house's signature flourishes - turquoise beading and gold detail
The persistent April showers refused to let up for the Royal guests - but fortunately William came prepared
He added that the number of cheetahs on the continent stands at around 10,000 to 12,000, while estimates suggest only 25,000 lions are left in Africa.
Mr Mayhew described the Duke's ability to get the wildlife message across to the public as vital for his charity's work and the efforts of others.
He said: 'It's enormously important and enormously valuable to have as our royal patron Prince William. His role, despite the Tusk agenda, on the global stage (is important) not just for our work but communicating the conservation message that everybody in conservation wants to get across. He's a powerful advocate for conservation in general.'
He added: 'Kate as we know got engaged to Prince William out in Africa and she's got the same general love of the continent as he has. She very kindly came to LA (with William) to launch our USA patrons circle. I cannot tell you how successful that was.'
Kate's slim waist was accentuated by the cut of her dress, while Wills looked smart in a dark suit
William proposed to Kate in Africa, and the two have a general love for the continent, which they have visited many times
The Duchess chats to Dire Straits lead singer Mark Knopfler, who was among guests at filmmaker Guy Ritchie's premiere this evening
The Duke of Cambridge chatting to a young boy at the African Cats premiere, was described by Tusk Trust co-founder Charlie Mayhew as 'passionate about Africa' and 'concerned about the crisis'
African Cats' director Guy Ritchie was accompanied by his girlfriend Jacqui Ainsley