Kate Middleton and Prince William Share a Sweet Moment Backstage in New Photo at Earthshot Awards
The parents of three hit the green carpet on Sunday for the inaugural Earthshot Prize awards, an environmental initiative launched by William — and on Wednesday, their office shared three previously unseen photos from the big night.
One black-and-white shot shows off the couple's adorable bond, with Kate supportively putting her arm around her husband's lower back as William leans in close to talk. (In another rare PDA moment from the ceremony, royals photographer Chris Jackson spotted the duo holding hands with big grins across their faces.)
In addition to sharing stunning exclusive photos from behind the scenes of the awards ceremony, Jackson tells PEOPLE, "The Duchess obviously felt really proud of what [Prince William] had achieved with this project. Seeing firsthand this realization of this huge amount of work for him. It was a really special evening."
"These two have an incredible ability to shine a spotlight on global issues — and to work on this and make it happen has clearly been a big thing for [the Duke]," the photographer adds.
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Kate and Prince William, 39, also shared two additional photos: one shows them smiling as they emerge from behind a curtain, while another shows a silhouette of William as he waits backstage.
Prince William tells PEOPLE exclusively in this week's cover story that the "urgency of the situation can't be overstated," prompting him to create the Earthshot Prize to promote impactful approaches to the world's most pressing environmental challenges.
"Seeing the incredible solutions that have been developed by the first winners of the Prize — and all of our finalists — shows us that the answers are out there," says the Duke of Cambridge. "By recognizing these efforts and supporting and scaling them to be the best they can be, we can inspire the confidence that a healthier, more sustainable future is within our grasp."
At the end of the hour-long ceremony on Sunday, which saw five groundbreaking projects anointed with an award of $1.3 million each, William announced that the next ceremony will be in the U.S.
"This is just the start," the Duke tells PEOPLE. "I'm thrilled that in 2022, The Earthshot Prize will be heading to the United States, where we will continue to spread this vital message of urgency, optimism and action."