Prince William has attended an awards bash alone after wife Kate pulled out at the last minute "due to their children".

The Duke of Cambridge arrived in Leicester Square, central London, for the annual Tusk Conservation Awards.

Kate had been due to accompany William to the ceremony at the Empire  Cinema in London’s Leicester Square and to a reception for nominees at the National Portrait Gallery.

But a spokeswoman for Kensington Palace said she was no longer able to attend “due to the children”.

She declined to comment further, but said the royal couple had met finalists at a tea at the Palace this afternoon.

William, who has been Patron of Tusk since 2005, looked dapper as he arrived to cheers and loud drumming from the UK-based Ghanaian band One Drum.

Prince William attended the event in London alone after Kate pulled out

He was met by Sir Kenneth Olisa, the Lord Lieutenant of London, before walking the green carpet outside the Empire cinema.

The Duke will be presenting three awards at the annual ceremony to mark conservation efforts in Africa as the patron of the charity.

The event, now in its seventh year and hosted by Kate Silverton, celebrates the achievements of conservationists working to protect Africa’s natural heritage.

Prince William waves to well-wishers outside the venue in central London

Before the event, the duke met Charlie Mayhew MBE, Tusk chief executive, and Sarah Watson, director of programmes at the charity.

He was also seen talking to event host, journalist Kate Silverton.

William did not speak to members of the public who were waiting outside the cinema.

Prince William speaks to another guest outside the Empire cinema

Speaking on stage, Mr Mayhew said William and the Duchess of Cambridge met the finalists in the three awards earlier on Thursday.

Addressing the duke's role in conservation projects, Mr Mayhew said: "Your own unwavering commitment for conservation and the very significant role you have played has been invaluable.

"You provided a powerful voice."

The Duke of Cambridge arrives at the Tusk Conservation Awards in central London

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The Duke and Duchess have three children, Prince George, six, Princess Charlotte, four, Prince Louis, who is almost 19-months-old.

It is the first time Prince William has been see in public since a scandal engulfed the royal family over Prince Andrew's BBC Newsnight appearance on Saturday.