Prince William Attends Royal Hobbit Premiere Without Pregnant Kate Middleton

Prince William
Prince William attends the Royal Film Performance of "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" on December 12, 2012 in London. Dave M. Benett/

Flying solo!

Prince William arrived dateless to the U.K. premiere of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey on Dec. 12, as pregnant wife Kate Middleton recovered at Nottingham Cottage from a second bout of extreme morning sickness.

Sporting a classic black tux and a big grin, the 30-year-old Duke of Cambridge walked the green carpet at Leicester Square's Odeon Cinema along with stars including Cate Blanchett (who braved the freezing temperatures in a backless dress!) and Sir Ian McKellen. See more photos of Prince William at the premiere.

Inside the event — which was in aid of the Cinema and Television Benevolent Fund to support indusry employees during times of hardship — the prince chatted briefly with Blanchett about the Oscar-winning actress' native Australia. He also told Odeon theater manager Tessa Street that his wife was sad to be missing the film.

"I passed on my best wishes to Kate, and he said, 'She would have loved to have been here if she could,'" Street told reporters, noting that the Duke was "very friendly."

In fact, the prince's wife was supposed to attend the royal premiere with him but had to bow out at the last minute due to her hyperemesis gravidarum.

"The Duchess of Cambridge will not attend The Hobbit premiere tomorrow evening and will continue to rest privately," a St. James's Palace rep told Us Weekly on Dec. 11, one day before the event. However, "the Duke of Cambridge will attend as planned."

Middleton's presence on the green carpet was certainly missed, but she was there in spirit. Just before the screening started, Sir Ian McKellen sent his best wishes to the Duchess, and everyone in the audience — including William — applauded.

The premiere is not the first engagement the pregnant royal has had to skip recently. After being hospitalized at King Edward VII on Dec. 3, Middleton was forced to cancel appearances at the ICAP Charity Day on Dec. 5, the Winter Whites Gala on Dec. 8, and the British Military Tournament at Earl's Court, London, on Dec. 9. Then on Sunday, the Palace told Us that she had fallen ill again. Although no further hospitalization was needed, her husband canceled an appearance of his own to be by her side at their Kensington Palace home.

Just one night before the Duchess' second bout of morning sickness, however, the prince went solo to the Winter Whites Gala, where he commented on his absent wife's condition. "I don't know why they call it morning sickness — they should call it all day and all night sickness," he joked. "[Recovery is] a long old process but she is getting there. She feels like it is going to go on forever."

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