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Prince William makes awkward How to Have Sex gaffe at the Baftas

Prince William appeared to make an unfortunate blunder at the Baftas, after telling actors that a film that tackles sexual assault “looked like a lot of fun”.

The Prince of Wales was speaking to Bafta Rising Star winner Mia McKenna-Bruce, who stars as 16-year-old Tara in director Molly Manning-Walker’s acclaimed film, How to Have Sex.

In the film, Tara and her two best friends go on a group holiday to the Greek Island Malia for a party holiday after completing their GCSE exams. Tara is raped by another British tourist in the film but feels isolated as she keeps it a secret from her friends.

The storyline has been praised for its critical portrayal of the issues surrounding consent and for highlighting the lack of conversation surrounding the subject.

Speaking at the Bafta’s ceremony, William admitted that he hadn’t watched the film, but added that it looked like “fun”.

“I haven’t yet watched your film – I think it looked like you had a lot of fun all the way through,” he told McKenna-Bruce, 26.

The royal shook hands with McKenna-Bruce as well as her fellow Rising Star nominees: The Bear‘s Ayo Edebiri, Bridgerton’s Phoebe Dynevor and Talk to Me’s Sophie Wilde.

Prince William speaking to Phoebe Dynevor, Ayo Edebiri, Sophie Wilde and Mia McKenna Bruce at the Baftas (Getty Images)
Prince William speaking to Phoebe Dynevor, Ayo Edebiri, Sophie Wilde and Mia McKenna Bruce at the Baftas (Getty Images)

"The category was so strong, all of you – it was like, who is going to pull this off? It was incredible. It was very close between all of you,” he said.

After McKenna-Bruce recommend he watch her film, William replied: “I’ve got a lot of films to catch up on. Normally I get quite ahead of the awards ceremony, I get to see quite a few of them. I haven’t managed to get that many through.”

One photograph that has gone viral on social media shows the four actors in conversation with the royal, as he appears to be laughing heartily while the Rising Stars nominees offer differing facial expressions that range from confused to appalled.

Prince William at the 2024 Baftas (Jordan Pettitt - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Prince William at the 2024 Baftas (Jordan Pettitt - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

It is unclear at what point during the conversation the the viral photograph was taken, but social media users have remarked how uncomfortable the Rising Star nominees looked.

Reacting to the viral photograph, one X/Twitter user remarked that the four across all look “alarmed” and “pained in their own way”.

Speaking to The Independent about the impact of How to Have Sex, McKenna-Bruce said she was taken aback by the response to the film.

“I expected the viewers to be young people,” said McKenna-Bruce, “but generations above mine have been coming forward and saying that they can relate to this story, and that they’ve been pushing those feelings down for years and years and years until they’ve seen this film.”

“And now they finally feel like they can talk about it. It’s scary and insane that there are so many people who have stories very close to Tara’s.”

“Consent isn’t binary, it’s not yes or no,” she said. “As human beings, we have way more than our words, so make sure you’re taking in another person as a whole, and not just what they’re saying.”

Find the full list of Bafta winners here.