Tuesday, 13 October 2020

Duchess Kate Praises "Magic of the Natural World" While Awarding Wildlife Photographer of the Year

The Duchess of Cambridge presented the 2020 Wildlife Photographer of the Year award from the Natural History Museum's Hintze Hall for this year's virtual awards ceremony.

The news was revealed yesterday with a teaser video featuring the Duchess. "It is so wonderful to be back at the reopened Natural History Museum where we can all enjoy its treasures once again." In tonight's video, Kate praised "the skill and creativity of this year’s images", adding they "provide a moving and fascinating insight into the beauty and vulnerability of life on our planet". Kate continued: "Thank you to all of those who entered for showing us the magic of the natural world and for reminding us that caring for our environment and its precious biodiversity has never been more important."

The Duchess presented the award to Russian photographer Sergey Gorshkov who also won the Animals in their Environment award for this incredible scene of an Amur tigress in the Russian Far East. The picture has been hailed as an " image that instinctively evokes a fierce desire to protect and cherish all that remains wild on our planet". It's utterly exquisite and a fitting winner of Wildlife Photographer of the Year. Roz Kidman Cox, Chair of the judging panel, said: "It's a scene like no other, a unique glimpse of an intimate moment deep in a magical forest."

More from the NHM:

'Born in a remote Siberian village, Sergey grew up immersed in the nature of the Russian wilderness. For most of his life, he was more likely to look at wild animals through the crosshairs of a rifle rather than the lens of a camera, before a trip to Africa and an encounter with a leopard changed the course of his life.

Since then, he has dedicated his life to taking beautiful pictures of animals to connect the world to the wildlife that we are slowly losing. He now specialises in the polar regions of Russia, seeking out the bears, foxes and geese that inhabit these frigid realms.

Sergey is the founding member of the Russian Union of Wildlife Photographers. His images are printed in magazines around the world and he has garnered awards in Russia, the UK, Italy and France. He also organises personal exhibitions and seminars in Russia and Europe.

The picture, titled The Embrace, shows the intimate moment an endangered Siberian tiger hugs an ancient Manchurian fir tree to mark it with her scent. It took Russian photographer Sergey Gorshkov over 11 months to capture using motion sensor cameras.'

A glimpse of tonight's set.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year is one of the world's most prestigious photography competitions. An international panel of judges select a shortlist of incredible images. The acclaimed show celebrates the rich diversity of life on our planet while highlighting the fragility of nature. This year's awards were hosted by naturalist and BBC presenter Christ Packham and his stepdaughter Megan McCubbin. The duo teamed up to produce terrific content on this year's Springwatch -- encouraging families to explore nature's wonders in their own back gardens.

Some of this year's highly commended submissions include this image of a bear hunting for salmon in an Alaskan national park by Hannah Vijayan.

The forest born of fire by Andrea Pozzi. "Araucaria trees are highly prized for their distinctive appearance, with whorls of spiky leaves around angular branches and trunks. Native to central and southern Chile and western Argentina, Araucarias were first introduced to Europe in the late eighteenth century, where they were grown as curiosities. In their natural habitat, Araucarias form extensive forests, often in association with southern beech and sometimes in pure stands on volcanic slopes."

A stunning image of a pair up puffins by Evie Easterbrook. The museum noted: "Evie longed to see a puffin, and visited the Staple Island a month before they were due to head back out to sea. She stayed by the puffins’ burrows, watching the adults returning with mouthfuls of sand eels. Puffins are in decline, vulnerable to the effects of climate disruption, including more frequent storms and warmer water, which has reduced the availability of their staple food, sand eels."

The winners included breathtaking images. Take a look at this captivating photo by Italy's Luciano Gaudenzio the winner in the Earth's Environments category. "From a great gash on Mount Etna, lava flows within a huge lava tunnel, re-emerging as an incandescent red river, veiled in volcanic gases."

Colombia's Gabriel Eisenband won the Plants and Fungi category award for this stunning photo of white arnica in the foreground of Ritak’Uwa Blanco, the highest peak in the Eastern Ranges of the Colombian Andes. The vivid hues and shades of blue are mesmerising.

In her role as patron of the Natural History Museum, Kate previously attended the awards in 2014 in a fabulous powder blue Jenny Packham design. The statement dress teamed with her pale pink L.K. Bennett Agata sandals and Monica Vinader jewels proved a hit on the night and remains a favourite evening look of mine.

In 2017, Kate attended the official reopening of Hintze Hall wearing the Preen by Thornton Bregazzi Everly dress and Prada scalloped sandals. The hall reopened to the public following a six month refurbishment programme, after two years of planning. A diving blue whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling was at the heart of the refurbishment and will lead a cast of natural world stars, including ten other star displays in the ground floor alcoves called the Wonder Bays, and hundreds of new specimens altogether across three floors.

On both occasions, Kate was joined by Sir David Attenborough, a lifelong naturalist. Recently Sir David was interviewed by the Cambridge children and joined the family at KP.

You can watch the awards in their entirety below. Kate's piece is at the end.

As noted yesterday, the Duchess was effortlessly stylish in a sleek, professional black trouser suit. This is a splendid look for Kate, a sentiment you all agree with judging by comments and reaction on social media. Below, a closer look at the blazer with satin lapels and peak, structured shoulders.

The designer of the suit has not been confirmed, though multiple design elements bear strong resemblance to Alexander McQueen designs. Liz from Kate's Closet shared McQueen's Black Leaf Tailored Crepe Tuxedo Jacket as a possible ID.

For those searching for Repli-Kate's, Reiss have a fantastic suit collection with a focus on tailoring and classic lines. Below the satin-trimmed Wren blazer and matching tuxedo trousers.

The UFO No More team suggest Kate wore Accessorize's Rope Pearl earrings. The sold-out pair originally retailed for just £10.

For more information on the Natural History Museum, how to visit and support them during this difficult time, please click here.


  1. All the images are absolutely breathtaking, it is so heartbreaking that a lot people don’t care about protecting our planet and the wildlife that live amongst it. I really like Kate’s suit as well, very professional and different that what we are used to

    1. Kate looks great in this suit. It reminds me how pretty she looked last year at the first day of school for PG and PC. You know, the hair is perfect, the styling is on point for the occasion and she shows up with a big smile for those meeting her.

      I think all her interests are really tying together(children, nature, getting children outdoors, photography, being physically active and mental health).

  2. Beautiful photography. The Duchess looks very stylish and professional. Stunning. The earrings are very nice but I'm sure there is a lot of real loose pearls in the vault, the Duchess could redesign. The museum is very lucky to have her as a patron. I'm sure she will work as hard for them as she does in all her projects. Most importantly supporting the Queen.

  3. Valerie in Arizona14 October 2020 at 00:04

    Breathtaking photographs!

  4. Love the images. The brief look at her earrings to me does not look like the ones ID above. To me her earrings looked like a larger hoop and a less round pearl than the one above.

  5. gorgeous photos of the bear, tiger and puffins especially

  6. HRH Kate is glowing. Supporting the museums is very much needed at the moment. Looking at the changes in the Duchess over the last few years, while still learning the ropes, as she said herself. She will fill and follow in Diana's footsteps.

  7. These gorgeous, heart stopping images of our struggling planet. The Cambridges are supporting the most important challenge we face.
    Catherine’s sophisticated, sublime, black trouser suit is the perfect, confident yet self-effacing way to present these art works in this year. Nothing unnecessary.

    1. Nicely said greybirdk! The Cambridge's efforts are as interlocked as they are! These photos are inescapable proof of the beauty of the world and the efforts to safe it are definitely the most important challenge we face. Catherine is beautiful and I think self-effacing is the perfect word to describe the Duchess.

  8. I love this look on Kate. She looks mature yet somehow more youthful! Stylish and polished. I am very proud of our duchess. Watching her change over the years has been fascinating. Thank you, Charlotte, for being the place I come to learn about Kate’s new projects and styles. There is really no where else on the internet quite like this and I love and appreciate it so much.
    Beth in SF

  9. The Embrace is magnificent. So poignant, we must take care of our precious environment and wildlife, before they vanish from the earth.

  10. Holy cow these nature photos are absolutely incredible. The photo of the tiger is unbelievable. Stunning.

    I have been so uninspired by Kate's fashion of late but HOLY COW - this is a statement look. It's classic and modern at the time time, the fit is incredible on her. I actually like that she minimized her jewelry here. Her hair and makeup are impeccable. Love the entire look.

  11. I love the way Kate used her own patronage to fishtail with William’s launch of Earthshots, to keep the momemtum going, without having to be directly involved with his project. I expect we will see her at the Earthshot galas but she doesn’t feel the need to be directly involved to show that she support him. The same way William does with Kate’s early years. He supported her garden last year and I am sure he feel just as strongly about it as Kate, but it is her area so he takes a step back.

  12. Zora from Prague15 October 2020 at 17:04

    Thank you so much for this post, Charlotte! The photographs are incredible (and some heartbreaking, if one watches the video). My favourite one is Out of the Blue. Kudos to all participants!
    Kate 's passion for photography has found its natural habitat in this event.

  13. the duchess really wants has to embrace wildlife and nature i love the duchess doing oh i love her outfit too


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