Prince William is celebrating a milestone for one of his most beloved charities.
On Tuesday evening, Prince William stepped out at Hampton Court Palace in England to attend the 10th annual Tusk Conservation Awards. The royal has been involved with the charity since 2005, when he was a recent college graduate, and helped launch the awards in 2013 to spotlight the work of conservation leaders and wildlife rangers in Africa.
Prince William, 40, stepped out in a tuxedo and bow tie, accessorizing with a red poppy pin. It's common for members of the royal family to sport poppies, an artificial flower that has been used since 1921 to commemorate military members who have died in war, during the month of November, when Remembrance Day is observed.
Prince William's cousin Peter Phillips was also in attendance. Peter is an ambassador for ISPS Handa, a sponsor of the Tusk Conservation Awards.
Jeff Spicer/Getty Prince William
Prince William gave a speech highlighting the importance of Tusk's work.
"Tonight's event provides a perfect moment not only to reflect on the remarkable achievements of our nominees, but also take stock of the immense challenges that we continue to face in preserving the natural world," he said. "The many ecosystems of Africa are precious; they underpin economies and livelihoods and support an extraordinarily rich biodiversity that plays a critical function in reversing climate change."
William continued, "As Sir David Attenborough reminded us at this ceremony five years ago, Africa's wildlife is truly special. What the Awards alumni, their dedicated teams and local communities are protecting is 'one of the great natural treasures of the world.' And yet, we also know that it is just a fragment of what there once was. That is why it is vital that we do everything in our power to halt the frightening decline in species that our planet has witnessed over the last 50 years. It is also why the work of Tusk and its partners is so critical. It's only by collaborating and building partnerships across communities, organizations, and the public and private sectors that we can foster lasting, meaningful change."
Prince William — a father to Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis — also looked ahead to how actions today will impact future generations.
"We are living through turbulent times and it is all too easy to lose sight of how critical it is that we look after our natural world. But we must remain focused on investing in nature and the environment, protecting it for future generations. We must not pass on the baton to our children and grandchildren, apologizing for our lack of collective action," he said. "Instead, we must do all we can to support those who support our natural world, often at great risk to themselves."
The #TUSKAwards celebrates the truly remarkable people working on the frontline of conservation in Africa. The commitment, innovation and courage they show is deeply humbling.
Finalists, winners and @Tusk_org alumni, you are nature's guardians – thank you for everything you do. pic.twitter.com/eAlFm7mc7q
— The Prince and Princess of Wales (@KensingtonRoyal) November 1, 2022
This year, three main prizes were awarded: Achilles Brunnel Byaruhanga of Uganda and Ian Craig of Kenya won the annual Prince William Award for Conservation, Neddy Mulimo of Zambia received the Tusk Wildlife Ranger Award and Miguel Gonçalves of Mozambique was presented with the Tusk Award for Conservation in Africa.
Prince William's office shared on his Instagram page, "The #TUSKAwards celebrates the truly remarkable people working on the frontline of conservation in Africa. The commitment, innovation and courage they show is deeply humbling. Finalists, winners and @Tusk_org alumni, you are nature's guardians — thank you for everything you do."
The appearance marks another example of how Prince William and his wife Kate Middleton are continuing to support their longstanding causes after becoming the Prince and Princess of Wales. King Charles formally announced the couple's new titles in his first speech as monarch, just one day after Queen Elizabeth died on Sept. 8.
An incredible night at the @tusk_org Conservation Awards! 🙌
Huge congratulations to award winners Miguel Gonçalves, Neddy Mulimo, Achilles Byaruhanga and Ian Craig, as well as finalists David Dabellen and Dismas Partalala. pic.twitter.com/aP4Y0FyD3X
— ISPS Handa (@ISPSHanda) November 2, 2022
Princess Kate's work with families and children's early years as well as Prince William's support for the homeless, conservation and his Earthshot Prize project will continue.
Kate Nicholl, author of The New Royals: Queen Elizabeth's Legacy and the Future of the Crown, recently told PEOPLE, "While they have both taken on new titles and more senior roles within the royal hierarchy, they have done so while staying very true to who they are and the causes they have championed. It's no coincidence that one of Kate's first engagements was to a maternity unit in Surrey, and as Princess of Wales, she's going to bring even more attention to her Early Years foundation."
Samir Hussein/WireImage Prince William
Prince William's outing to the Tusk Awards also marked his first public engagement in recent weeks. The Prince and Princess of Wales took a break from royal outings in late October as their three children — Prince George, 9, Princess Charlotte, 7, and Prince Louis, 4 — were off from school. Prince William and Kate have previously scaled back their schedules during school vacations in order to spend time with their kids.