On Thursday night, a room of British and American luminaries gathered at Casa Cipriani to celebrate the Prince’s Trust, a charity founded by King Charles III, which supports young people across the world with a dizzying array of programs and grants. The king is still the president of the organization but his new role meant that he wasn’t able to be there in person. Instead, British Vogue editor Edward Enninful served as the night’s host, wearing a tuxedo by Dior. At the beginning of the night, he introduced renowned hairstylist Charlotte Mensah, who was on hand to read a message the king sent to the star-studded crowd at the charity’s second annual New York gala.
“His majesty couldn’t be with us this evening…He has something next week,” Mensah said wryly. “Anyway, here is the letter, and I am absolutely thrilled that I have been asked to read it.”
In the message Mensah read, Charles expressed some slight surprise about the impact his charity has had nearly five decades after founding it while still in his 20s. “Celebrating the global impact of this is some achievement which, I must confess, I could not have dreamed of back in 1976, when I started the trust, using, at that time, my royal severance when I left the service in order to help disadvantaged young people achieve their full potential,” he said. “Its mission remains the same today to help young people, sustainable jobs, enterprises, enabling them to build a brighter future.”
The upcoming coronation lent the proceedings an air of commendation, even though the host of last year’s ceremony, Prince Trust global ambassador Lionel Richie was unable to attend due to his role at the Windsor Castle concert next Sunday and his attendance at an American royal wedding of sorts over the weekend. He sent a video message instead saying, “His Majesty and I have different roles in life but we have the same heart.”
Richie described the phone call he got inviting him to be a part of the coronation concert. “I immediately said yes, but then I realized this is not going to be just another show. This is a once-in-a-lifetime historic event,” he said. “I’m sorry to say I’m not going to be with you tonight, but I’m there with you, and I’m going to take care of the king.”
Pop royalty was still represented in the form of Doja Cat and Rita Ora, who performed her new single “Praising You” live for the first time at the end of the night. Before the ceremony, Ora said she was “so excited” to watch the coronation next week, though she’ll be in Australia.
“I performed with the Prince’s Trust back in 2016, and I’m so happy to be back and to see the results and meeting with all the winners,” Ora said. “It’s everything that I believe in. The Prince’s Trust has done so much work for kids, and not just for kids but for anyone who has unfortunate circumstances.”
Ora and one-time grant recipient Idris Elba both met with three young winners of awards from the trust, who later spoke from the stage about the impact the charity had in supporting them after experiences of violence and mental health crises.
Later, Elba spoke about his own experience with the charity when he was 16 or 17 years old. “I wanted to apply for this drama course, which was with the National Youth Music Theatre. What they do is basically allow drama students to work in a professional environment. They take you around the world and you have fun but you have to pay for it,” he said. “It was £1,500 and my parents couldn’t afford it.” A drama teacher told him about the Prince’s Trust and its mission to help “those who haven’t got money, but have got talent and a vision.” After his acceptance, he got a check for his tuition from the charity, attended the program, and it soon led him to his first job in musical theater.
“Would I have become an actor if I had the money? Maybe,” he added. “But one thing the Prince’s Trust gave me is confidence. It gave me the confidence to believe in what I do, who I am, and what I can be.”
Along with his duties as host, Enninful brought along a raft of fashion’s luminaries, including Iman, Kate Moss, Sienna Miller, Karen Elson, Kate Beckinsale, Stella Maxwell, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, and Winnie Harlow, and some newer faces, like actor Kathryn Newton, Lori Harvey, and the magazine’s recent cover star, Precious Lee.
Makeup artist and entrepreneur Charlotte Tilbury also joined Enninful and Moss at the gala. Last summer, Moss appeared with Tilbury on a bus as a part of the Platinum Jubilee Pageant. Tilbury’s eponymous brand marked the jubilee with a collection fit for a queen, and on Thursday, guests went home with her new deep crimson lipstick color, Coronation Red. The color went on sale this month, with the proceeds going to the Prince’s Trust.
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